Tuesday, 13 September 2022 15:20

2014 CREF Makeover Grant Winner Builds Solid Foundation for Collision Education Program


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For many years, Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Jamaica, NY, offered only one year of collision classes. As juniors, students decided whether to study automotive or collision during their senior year.

In 2012, Assistant Principal Moses Ojeda agreed with Barry Roopnarine, automotive collision instructor, that “one year was not sufficient to get students trained for an entry-level job in collision repair.”


Upgrading the collision program to a three-year track necessitated “a major revamp from the ground up,” Roopnarine recounted. “We required new tools, equipment, supplies and other necessities to help the program run smoothly and to ensure we were providing students with the education they’d need to be successful in their future careers.”


Fortunately, Roopnarine learned about the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), and when he received reminders to provide information about Thomas Edison CTE, “I completed the school survey and filled some other things out,” he said. “Then, every so often, the school would receive a package containing supplies or safety items being donated to the program from the collision industry through the foundation.”


Roopnarine remembers applying for the foundation’s 2014 Makeover Grant: “It was a lot of work! The foundation collects data and references to obtain a good snapshot of the collision programs that applied. At the awards ceremony, I watched all the schools get recognized for various smaller grants, and then when it was time for the BIG one, all I heard from ‘Thomas Edison’ before I went into a state of shock that prevented me from hearing the rest of the school name.


"It was surreal---I wanted to share the news with everyone back home immediately, but there was a three-hour time difference preventing me from spreading the excitement that night,” Roopnarine said.


The grant being awarded could not have happened at a better time because, with the expansion of the program, it was responsible for providing a solid foundation.


"We received tools, supplies and various pieces of equipment that helped modernize the classroom to meet industry standards,” Roopnarine added. “Without these donations, the revamped collision program at Thomas Edison would not have had the strong start that it enjoyed. The industry’s generous donations, facilitated by the foundation, provided our students with the necessities to be able to...

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