MHS Auto Tech program gears students toward success

2019 MHS Automotive

The McCollum High School Automotive and Technology program is putting high school students on the fast track to success.

The four-year program provides students the opportunity to gain real world skills to pursue an exciting career in the automotive industry.

Instructors Mark Emmons and Michael Martinez began leading the program in the fall of 2017, and together, they have worked hard to update the program’s tools, equipment and practices to offer the best quality real-world experience to each student.

“Our program is focused on teaching 21st century workplace skills,” Emmons said. “The students learn on a daily basis how to work together as a team, communicate effectively in both oral and written form, think critically to solve problems, and also learn how to be leaders in their class.”

During the program, students have the opportunity to obtain the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) student level certification in 10 different areas including engine performance, brakes, suspension and steering, auto maintenance and light repair, and electrical systems.

The program also offers juniors and seniors dual credit through a partnership with Texas State Technical College (TSTC).

Senior D’Angelo Idrogo said the program has not only prepared him for a job, but has also motivated him to pursue his passion.

“We’re like a family in this automotive program. We like to help and push each other to learn more about the industry because that is what we love. I want to specialize in engine performance,” D’Angelo said.

Seniors Adam Blancas and Curtis Bertling are also grateful for all the learning opportunities the program has offered them.

“The way we balance our class time and our shop time is perfect because whatever we learn in class we take it to the shop,” Adam said.

“We are able to use the same equipment that we would if we were out on the field,” Curtis added. “If a customer walks in and says something is wrong with the car, we fix it. All the cars in here are from real customers.”

In addition, the course focuses on professionalism and life skills to give each student a better chance of succeeding in and outside of work. The students have also attended field trips at local dealerships and the Toyota plant.

“We have started to build a culture of ‘buy in’ where each student cannot only grow, but feel proud of their program and want to contribute outside of the work area,” Emmons concluded.

The students are currently preparing for the Skills USA State Competition taking place in Corpus Christi on April 4-7.  

Good luck, Auto Tech students!

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