Friday, 10 June 2022 10:25

Atlanta I-CAR Committee Strengthens Local Schools’ Collision Programs Through CREF


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“Dear Advisory Board: Thank you for your support and letting me learn how to repair body work on a car. Without your help, and Mr. Goodwin’s teaching, I probably wouldn’t have learned what I learned this semester.”

“Thank you for donating tools to help us learn about a new career that can help us later in life.”


“You guys have done so much for our class. We can’t thank you enough!”


Collision repair students at Paulding County High School (PCHS) in Dallas, GA, sent handwritten notes to members of their program’s advisory board after the school’s second annual Small Car Race, an end-of-year project where students race the 6-inch cars they’ve built using recycled car parts.


“By building these cars, the students learn skills like design, sanding, metal work, welding and painting, but in addition to allowing them to develop basic skills, this project helps build their self confidence,” said Melissa Dunn, chair of the PCHS advisory board and co-chair of training for the Atlanta I-CAR Committee. “Students were so proud of the cars they built, and many asked for advice on how they could have improved the design and paint after the races. Returning students will take what they learned this year---and the feedback received---to build a better car for next year’s race.”


Dunn estimates that around 100 people stopped by to watch the races, including Hayden Swank, a late model race car driver with NASCAR aspirations.


“Students were excited to see Hayden---and they definitely felt the pressure to do well in front of a real race car driver,” Dunn said. “Hayden was wonderful to come to the event and support the school’s program…he even waved the green flag to start cars down the track!”


Last year’s Small Car Race generated enough attention to inspire several students to transfer into the auto body program for the 2021-22 school year, only the second year for the collision repair program at PCHS. Instructor Leroy Goodwin taught automotive for six years, but he felt he was doing students a disservice by not offering any auto body experience.


“Two years ago, this program didn’t exist, but when the school agreed to...

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