Twin Cities Schools Get Celebrity Help in Go-Kart Build-Off

Students are building go-karts from scratch with mentoring from industry veterans like Billy Lane and Richard Petty.

Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. is one of the celebrity mentors working with students in the Rat Rod Go-Kart Build-Off. Image via Facebook.

In an exciting collaboration between Minneapolis Public Schools and Lakeville North, students have been given the unique opportunity to engage in a hands-on educational experience through the Rat Rod Go-Kart Build-off, reported WCCO News.

Part of the Tools for the Trades program sponsored by Northern Tool + Equipment, the program not only fosters practical skills in automotive design and fabrication but also brings invaluable insights of celebrity mentors like Billy Lane.

Since June 2023, students from both schools have dedicated themselves to the meticulous task of constructing go-karts from scratch. With the tools and resources provided by Northern Tool + Equipment, along with regular mentorship sessions from industry veterans like Lane and Richard Petty, the project has become more than just an extracurricular activity---it's a pivotal moment in these young learners' education.

Lane, a renowned figure in the automotive world, has been particularly instrumental in guiding the students through the intricacies of welding, fabrication and design. His presence not only elevates the technical aspects of the project but also brings a broader message about the value of vocational education and the diverse paths to personal and professional success.

Lane's advocacy for the trades as a viable and rewarding career choice resonates deeply with the students, many of whom are already envisioning futures in automotive-related fields. His emphasis on the importance of hands-on skills in an increasingly digital world highlights a crucial counterpoint to the prevailing narrative around traditional four-year college degrees.

As the build-off progresses, the anticipation builds for the final reveal of the go-karts at the 2024 Back to the '50s Weekend in June at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. This event not only serves as a showcase for the students' hard work and creativity but also as a testament to the collaborative efforts of educators, industry professionals and the community in supporting alternative educational pathways.

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