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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Thursday, 04 June 2020 20:01

Silicon Valley Tech School Pushes Through Pandemic

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Nathan Chukes, left, has been teaching at SCVTE for 18 years and is known for being tough but fair. Nathan Chukes, left, has been teaching at SCVTE for 18 years and is known for being tough but fair.

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The pandemic has impacted tech schools throughout the country as they adapt to a whole new world.

Online classrooms, drive-by graduations and online testing have become the norm, and many administrators are saying that some of these changes will stick long after the virus has passed.

 

Nathan Chukes is the auto body refinishing instructor at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) in San Jose, CA, with three decades of industry experience and 18 years as a teacher there. He runs the program with another instructor, Robert McTaggart.

 

Chukes is well-known in the world of collision repair instruction for being a tough instructor who commands excellence, but many of his former students say only wonderful things about him.

 

It’s been a new road to travel for Chukes and his students, but by adapting and changing his approach, things are working.

 

“This year with the pandemic it has been very challenging and difficult for high school students throughout our country,” he said. “For me, as an instructor, I faced similar challenges, but I had to find a way to deliver instruction to my students. With only a quarter of a semester left of our school year, all hands-on and shop instruction was halted, due to the virus. At that point all instruction became viral with Zoom lessons and audio lectures.”

 

Every year, Chukes gives awards to his star pupils, he said.

 

“In the two classes I teach daily, there were four students in my program that stood out above all,” he said. “They never gave up, never complained and never doubted that they had enough skills and knowledge to continue forward to graduate and prepare for the next chapter in their lives.”

Chukes gives excellence awards every semester and seems to be a pretty good judge of talent, because several past recipients have gone on to be body shop owners, gifted painters and top technicians over the years, he said.

 

This year’s award winners are:

 

  • Junior Ever Martir from San Jose High School in San Jose, CA, received the award for Outstanding Student in Chukes’s AM Refinishing class
  • Senior Manuel Soto from Prospect High School in Saratoga, CA, received the award for Outstanding Student in Chukes’s PM Refinishing class
  • Senior Jose Gonzalez from San Jose High School in San Jose, CA, received the Achievement award in Chukes’s AM Refinishing class
  • Senior Manuel Madera from Andrew Hill High School in San Jose, CA, received the Achievement award in Chukes’s PM Refinishing class

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