DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — When it comes to housing in Central Texas, we're just bursting at the seams. Supply can't seem to keep up with demand, but as more homes become available, so does the need for Realtors. That's exactly why a high school real estate program at Dripping Springs Independent School District is so popular.
"The first time that a former student mailed me their business card with a thank-you note was a really powerful moment," said real estate teacher Mike Lemonds.
Lemonds loves teaching. His enthusiasm is palpable.
"It really motivates me to want to continue to learn," said Sydney Hetherington, who is a senior at Dripping Springs High School.
In his class, students are learning about real estate.
But this two-semester course is especially unique.
"We're pretty much the only high school in Texas that has a class that allows you to get your real estate license. I think that's cool," added Hetherington.
That's very cool. As a former Realtor, Lemonds has the credentials to teach the program which combines classroom lessons with field trips.
Adopting such an innovative course took a few years and a lot of back and forth conversations with the Texas Education Agency.
"There is a process that you have to go through. But they work with you so close to try to help you reach the goal of creating that course," said Lemonds.
From contracts to APR's and appraisals, there are several lingoes to learn. Most students and some adults honestly don't have a base knowledge of real estate.
"I actually didn't realize how much the sales agent has to do," added senior Maddie Jarvis.
"There is a big learning curve at the beginning of the year, but then there is a light bulb that goes off at some point and they really see the benefit of learning these things and why they can be so valuable to them in the future," added Lemonds.
Students must be 18 and have 180 hours to sit for the May exam at the Texas Real Estate Commission. If they pass, they can get their real estate license.
"So after I get my license I am planning on doing two internships this spring actually so that hopefully I can make my way into a real estate career as soon as the summer starts right before college," said Hetherington.
"It is such a great back up plan to have in case my career goals don't work out like I want them to," chimed Jarvis.
And that's exactly what Mr. Lemonds had in mind. Real estate could be students plan A or B. Either way, its a helpful tool.
"I think more and more districts are really seeing the value of these career classes where students are learning useful skills that they can turn into a lifetime of business," said Lemonds.
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