As students in the Grant Career Center Auto Collision program learn new skills, they practice in their lab on full size cars, panels, and doors. Dent removal, filler applications, sanding, welding, and painting can be seen on a daily basis in the lab. To showcase their newly perfected skills, the students dropped down in scale to model cars. Students list their favorite cars, and the instructors search through mountains of models at the Ben Franklin store in Bethel.
Students open the models with great anticipation and begin the building process. Boxes of assorted parts morph into hot rods, trucks, and great cars of the past. Then the creative process truly becomes apparent. Paints are applied with great precision with tiny brushes and spray guns. Fancy finishes and saucy striping take over, and the plain plastic becomes a work of art.
The day finally arrives when the long tables are pulled out, and it is Car Show Day. Students proudly display their models and hope to impress the judges. Staff members from the Career Center wander around the tables and examine the models from all angles. Expertise varies among the staff from true car aficionados to those who utter, “Which ones are the GM products?” In the end, the winners emerge from the pack, and awards are distributed.
Instructors Mike Patten and Ric Kruse take great pride in hosting the Model Car Show each year. According to Patten, “The students love the chance to showcase their hard work to staff, students and fellow car enthusiasts. They like to be recognized for their efforts and they love the feedback on the skills that they have perfected in the program.”
Winners of this year’s Model Car Show are as follows: Best of Show, Ibrahim Abdullah (Felicity-Franklin); Best Junior Model, (tie) Cody Hess (New Richmond) and Wesley Stevens (New Richmond); Best Senior Model, Gage Skillman (New Richmond); Best Junior Paint, Damien Freeman (Bethel-Tate); Best Senior Paint, Garrett Freeman (Williamsburg); Best Chrysler, Gage Skillman; Best Ford Corporate, Ibrahim Abdullah; Best General Motor, Thomas Boldman (Williamsburg); Best Truck/Van, Clayton Welch (Bethel-Tate); Best Subcompact, Cody Hess; Best Engine, Thomas Boldman; Best Interior, Garrett Freeman; Best 1970 & Down Street Rod, Michael Verdin (New Richmond); Best 1971 & Up Street Machine, Jesse Wilhoit (Bethel-Tate); Junior Best Effort, Wesley Stevens; Senior Best Effort, Clayton Welch.
Last year, Gage Skillman won Best Junior Model, and this year he took Best Senior Model honors with his 1969 Dodge Charger. He said the secret to his success lies in the fact that he likes to think outside the box. “I come up with up ideas that people don’t normally think of. I pay close attention to all the little details like turn signals, interior and wheels, and don’t cut corners. They all add up to make the model look realistic.”
If your sophomore son or daughter is interested in a career in the auto collision industry, investigate career options and college partnerships on our website at www.grantcareer.com or call the Career Center for more information at 513-734-6222.