When a bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro was delivered to Ukiah High School’s 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,’ Prof Lonnie Harwell said of the teenager he allowed to drive the sports car, but only to move it back a few inches so he was easier to lift later when students are ready to make repairs to it.
“It’s definitely the newest car we’ve had,” Harwell said 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 of Trustees of Ukiah approved the donation from the California Highway Patrol. of the seized vehicle.
“This car can never be legally driven again,” said Ukiah and CHP native Lt. Dan Fansler, who worked from the Ukiah office before recently becoming commander of the CHP Clear Lake office. Fansler described the 2011 Chevrolet as a recovered stolen vehicle that was eventually “ordered for scrap or, in this case, donated to an educational institution.”
Fansler knew the school needed vehicles for practice because he had taken an auto shop there when he was a student. And since Ukiah High is now “one of the few in the area that offers vocational programs such as auto repair to high school students, CHP Clear Lake Area and CHP Northern Division ISU” decided to donate the vehicle to school.
After the court and school board approved the donation, All-In-One Towing in Ukiah donated the services of a tow truck and driver to deliver the Camaro on Thursday. Before the yellow Chevy 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 will be able to use it to test his students’ skills by “inserting ‘bugs’ into the system that they need to diagnose, such as why the headlights don’t work,” he said. said as the students got to work finding the car’s battery, which was in the trunk, and figuring out how to erase the screen from its dashboard.
Harwell said he had several female students, but the only girl in the store Thursday was 11th grader Kai Tikker. When asked why she signed up for the course, Tikker said she was interested in car repair 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 he had “90 more students applying for my program than I had places for.”