Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC, hosted 200 eighth-graders from the eight Randolph County School System and Asheboro City Schools middle schools on Nov. 8, for Automotive Day to kick off National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 11-17.
The event was held to highlight both the Automotive Systems Technology (AST) apprenticeship opportunities and the classes students can take in the AST and Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology at RCC when they are in high school.
Students participated in several hands-on activities, including wiring, measuring, painting, damage repair and tire maintenance, and also saw ScanTool and paint booth demonstrations at the Richard Petty Education Center. Students were able to discuss careers in the automotive world as they went from station to station. The students also toured the corporate headquarters for J.P. Thomas & Co. Inc. and its East Coast Tires, Wheels, & Equipment; Thomas Tire & Automotive; and Ready-To-Mount divisions.
Archdale-Trinity Middle School student Jacob Proctor, whose grandpa is a mechanic, said the event was “pretty cool. I’m learning things I didn’t know.”
“My father is a welder,” Northeastern Randolph Middle School student KatieJo Staley said, noting she was interested in Automotive Systems Technology as a career. “He teaches me more about that than cars, so I thought I’d learn about cars and bring those together. The paint [demonstration] was neat.”
The experience left a mark on the RCC instructors, too.
“Automotive Day was a blast,” AST Department Head Don Ashley said. “It was one of the best student engagement tours we have ever experienced. It was fun — the students were actively participating in the demonstrations. I hope they learned quite a bit more about what the automotive systems and collision repair technicians experience.”
“I loved the Automotive Day — all of the kids had fun and were engaged and seemed interested,” Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology Department Head W.T. Brewer added. “I think my instructors had more fun than the students.”