When a bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro was delivered to the Ukiah High School auto shop on Thursday, all the students wanted to drive it, but only one could.
“He’s the only one with a driver’s license,” teacher Lonnie Harwell said of the teenager he allowed to drive the sports car, but only to move it back a few inches so that it easier to lift later when students are ready to repair it.
âIt’s definitely the most recent car we’ve donated,â said Harwell of the Camaro, which was dropped off at his store in a remote corner of the Ukiah High campus after the Unified School District board Ukiah approved the donation from the California Highway Patrol. of the seized vehicle.
“This car will never be able to be legally driven again,” said Ukiah native and CHP Lt. Dan Fansler, who worked in the Ukiah office before recently becoming CHP Clear Lake office commander. Fansler described the 2011 Chevrolet as a salvaged stolen vehicle that was ultimately “ordered for destruction or, in this case, donated to an educational institution.”
Fansler knew the school needed vehicles for training because he had done an auto shop there when he was a student. And as Ukiah High is now “one of the few in the region to offer professional programs like auto repair to high school students, CHP Clear Lake Area and CHP Northern Division ISU” have decided to donate the vehicle to the ‘school.
After the donation was approved by the courts and the school board, All-In-One Towing in Ukiah donated the services of a tow truck and driver to deliver the Camaro on Thursday. Before the yellow Chevrolet arrived, Harwell said the newest “member of our fleet” was a 2007 SUV donated by a community member because the vehicle could no longer pass smog inspections.
Since the Camaro has a computer system, Harwell said he can use it to test the skills of his students by “putting” bugs “in the system for them to diagnose, such as why the headlights will not work, âhe said. said as the students got to work finding the car’s battery, which was in the trunk, and figuring out how to clear its dashboard screen.
Harwell said he has several female students, but the only girl in the store on Thursday was 11th grader Kai Tikker. When asked why she signed up for the course, Tikker said she was interested in repairing cars in part because her mother, Nikki Cebrian, trained as an auto repair technician at Mendocino College. .
When asked how popular his class was, Harwell said there were â90 more students to apply for my program than I had places for. “