Practice makes perfect when repairing vehicles. Students who want to work in the auto industry now have two more cars to work on at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown, MD.
Emily Cunningham and Kyle Carranza, local State Farm insurance agents, met on Nov. 8 with teacher Mike Stevens, students and school administrators to donate two 2008 Nissan Altima vehicles to the center’s auto repair and refinishing classes to assist in the school’s collision repair training program. Both of the vehicles had been declared totaled prior to being donated, Cunningham said.
Ann Johnson, the school’s vocational support and teacher-in-charge, said students can apply the skills they learn at the Forrest center classes “to real-world collision issues.”
“We’re extremely fortunate [the insurance company] thought of us when they made their donation,” she said.
She said “safety is key” in any of the classes offered at the center. First-year students attending the auto repair and refinishing classes learn the basics before working with their hands on projects, she said, adding that students in the third year of the program can bring in their own vehicles to work on.
Chopticon High School senior Caleb Hare said “it was nice” for the cars to be donated to the program because students “get to learn [about] different models [and] different accidents because nothing is ever the same.”
He said he enjoys participating in the auto repair and refinishing classes because they offer “a lot of hands-on activities [and] you’re not sitting at a desk.” A hopeful auto mechanic, Hart said he has learned more about the tools used in the industry.
Leonardtown High School senior Dylan Farrell said he was “looking forward to learning” more about the later model vehicles and eventually working in a family friend’s auto repair shop.
Great Mills High School senior Dylan Nickless said he enjoys what he’s learning in the auto refinishing program. He said “it’s a nice hobby to fall back on” if his wrestling dreams don’t take off.