Fixing cars and fine tuning skills

Students from Paducah Tilghman, Graves County, Livingston County, and McCracken County High School are on track to get certified as mechanics by building cars. 

They are working at the Paducah Area Technology Center on a 1979 Lincoln.

Students are taking an engine from the 1979 Lincoln and another car and re-building them. Once they do the engine swap and rebuild the 1979 Lincoln, it will be ready for the road and a little extra. The students plan to take it down the drag strip.

Automotive teacher Robert Lee said allowing students to race the car gives them all the more motivation. However, this hot rod is also helping them get their Automotive Service Excellence student certification.

“A two-year certification to give them a foot in the door and get the higher level ASE certification that professional technicians have,” said Lee.

Lee said it’s a certification that’ll help them get a job. A job, made possible by this project, which was donated by Buzz Vontesmar, who works next door. He said this experience has been like watching light bulbs go off for students.

“Overwhelming to watch from one kid in class kind of eh to now 6 or 8 fighting over a position of who’s doing what,” said Vontesmar.

Daniel Stoops from Graves County High School said he wants to make a career out of this.

“We are redoing the motor right now and almost done with it,” said Stoops.

Lee said there’s one girl in the program currently. He said they’re trying to make changes to the program to make it more inviting to girls.

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