ABILENE – Tuesday afternoon in the delivery showroom at Arrow Ford, the Abilene Independent School District was on the receiving end of a generous gift from Ford Motor Company and Arrow Ford that will benefit students going through the district’s automotive curriculum for years to come.

Seaton Higginbotham, president of Arrow Ford, presented the keys to a 2016 Ford Focus to AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young for students to begin using immediately. Or, as Higginbotham said Tuesday afternoon, “to tear up and put back together.”

The automobile will be housed at Abilene High School for the rest of the school year before it’s moved to The LIFT next summer, along with ATEMS and all of the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

“We are grateful for Arrow Ford and Seaton Higginbotham and their commitment to education and the Abilene ISD,” Dr. Young said. “The car will be an great addition to the automotive program, and I know the students and (teacher) Will Kirby are looking forward to getting the chance to use it in their shop.”

The donated vehicle was given to the AISD by Ford Motor Company as a result of the work of Dr. Ketta Garduno, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and Kirby, an automotive technician and AISD CTE instructor, with Ford’s STAR Training System. This partnership system is designed to connect Ford with school districts and teachers like Mr. Kirby who endeavor to grow their students into high quality technicians. Higginbotham was also instrumental in helping the AISD establish this partnership with Ford. Dr. Garduno and Kirby were able to integrate Ford’s STAR Training into the AISD’s Automotive curriculum and their success led Ford to donate a vehicle to offer enhanced real-world training to students.

“Here at Arrow, it’s all about partnership and helping others accomplish their goals,” Higginbotham said. “We’ve been working with the AISD for several years to help create a better experience for the student wanting to make the automobile industry their career. It’s been a great partnership and we see nothing but great things in our future as the CTE programs – including the automotive class – moves to The LIFT.”

The AISD’s Automotive program is part of the Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics cluster, which is just one of many CTE pathways offered by the AISD to students in Abilene and the Big Country.