Students ready to cruise into summer

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It was a scene appropriate for end of school times in headed towards Memorial Day – cars, military vehicles, sunshine, lawn games and barbeque – wholly American.

On Wednesday, May 23, the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center (WACTC) held a car show and field day end-of-year event for its students.

The event, supported by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the National Guard, and SkillsUSA was to celebrate the school year and seniors graduating in a few weeks.

At the event, two scholarships were given out to students who were part of the three-year Automotive Technology program. This program includes a seven-day shop teaching students everything from names of tools to how to pull apart transmissions. It is one of 20 automotive master-certified programs in the United States.

The recipients of the scholarships, Dahamelis Ocando and Justin Ware, both received $500. ASA president Michael Coutu explained that the winners were awarded these scholarships due to recommendations from their teachers, Jason Marley and David Tibbitts. The scholarship winners are often the heads of their class and have a passion for going into the automotive service field in the future. This is a way of commending them for the hard work that they have done while in the program.

Ocando received other scholarships as well to further her education of automotive services.

“I’m doing an internship right now, and I want to go to college to work in the automotive field in the future,” she said.

The field day and car show were set up by students and faculty. Over 35 car owners brought their vehicles to the show and compete in a competition in which the winners received trophies. Stephen Ventura, owner of a 1998 all-original Corvette showed his excitement for the event’s purpose, explaining that bringing his Corvette to events is often done in support of clubs, organizations or schools.

“Car clubs and shows give a lot to fundraising,” Ventura said.

The Culinary and Pastry Arts program contributed to the event by making hamburgers and hot dogs for the students. The National Guard also came and set up a punching bag and military vehicles for students to look at; lawn games such as corn-hole, frisbee, and Jenga were set up as well.

“This is an annual event and I think it’s fantastic, the teachers and students did a great job organizing this event…they really stepped up to the plate,” said Bill McCaffrey, Director of WACTC.

Co-advisors Jill Shurtleff, a Cosmetology teacher, and Elizabeth Charette, a CISCO Network Academy teacher, also played a big part in setting up and coordinating the many parts of the event. They were happy with how well it all came together.

“It reminds me of the carnival at the end of ‘Grease,’” Shurtleff said of the 200 students playing games, eating and looking at cars outside of the school.

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