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Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman
Goose Creek Memorial High School senior and Stuart Career Center Automotive Practicum student Dj Lombrana enjoys learning new things while working on cars and talking to customers. She plans to work fulltime after graduating from high school.
Student Serves as an Asset to Community KIA
By: Susan Passmore
Dj Lombrana, a senior at Goose Creek Memorial High School, has discovered her dream job in a field typically dominated by males. Through her Automotive Practicum class at Stuart Career Center, she works close to 20 hours a week as a service technician at Community KIA. She changes oil and filters, rotates and balances tires as well as makes minor mechanical repairs. Serious about her job, Dj is learning more every day from her teacher Steve Barron, her co-workers, her supervisors and through online KIA training.
“Dj came to us from Pasadena last year,” Barron said. “She’s a hands-on person, and when she does something one time, she knows it. I knew that the best thing I could do for her was to get her involved in the industry.”
Dj, which stands for Darrien Joy, has earned her student certification in Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Maintenance and Light Repair and is working on ASE certification for brakes. She recently won 2nd place in the Regional SkillsUSA Maintenance and Light Repair competition at San Jacinto College Central, qualifying for the state competition.
“If you asked me what she does wrong, I wouldn’t have an answer,” said Sammy Campos, service manager and her supervisor at KIA. “She stays busy even when she’s not busy. If she doesn’t know, she asks. She’s good with customers. We’ll be happy to have her fulltime when she graduates.”
With maturity beyond her 18 years, Dj sees her job as a challenge and tackles problems like a pro.
“I want to make this my career. You’ll never know everything about a vehicle, and I like learning new things and problem solving. I don’t mind trying and failing and then doing it again,” Dj said.
Her inspiration for a career in the automotive industry came from watching movies, such as “Transformers” and “Fast and Furious,” in which females worked with cars.
“I was about 8-years-old and I was looking up how to fix cars on YouTube,” she said.
While Dj is not the only young lady who has worked for Community Toyota, Honda or Kia, business partners with Goose Creek CISD, but she is certainly one of the best.
“She has a strong work ethic and a good personality,” said Doug Shipley, parts and service director. “As for her ability and knowledge, she’s way beyond the curve.”
This program is now a part of the Advanced Automotive Academy at Stuart Career Tech High School. Eighth-graders interested in a career as an automotive, diesel or collision repair technician can apply via the website. Four years in the Advanced Automotive Academy will lead students to a Business & Industry Endorsement, a college associate degree or certificate, along with Performance Acknowledgements for earning Automotive ASE and ICAR certifications. Seniors may participate in internships, and scholarships are available to graduates.
Consolidated Independent School District
4544 Interstate 10 East | Baytown, Texas 77521 | 281.420.4800
P.O. Box 30 | Baytown, Texas 77522 | 281.420.4800
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