Students in the Automotive Technology at Lake Area Tech program capitalize on the skills they learn in class through engagement in program-related clubs and sponsored events. This engagement enhances both the students’ learning experience and community service experience by networking with peers at local, state, and national skills competitions; sharing their expertise within our community at program-sponsored events such as the car care inspection event and car show; volunteering valuable community service hours to local causes in need; and contributing to local charities with funds raised through student-sponsored activities.
SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves trade, industrial, technical, and health occupations students in high schools and post-secondary technical institutes. The mission of Skills USA to improve the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. At Lake Area Tech, Automotive Technology students have the opportunity to compete each year at the program and state level. First-place winners at the state level advance to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference where nearly 6,000 students compete. Nationally, there are 300,000 student SkillsUSA members. For more information on Skills USA, please visit http://skillsusa.org/.
Lake Area Tech’s Auto Club offers a platform for auto students to interact with each other and the community in a non-classroom atmosphere. Members of the Auto Club organize and host a variety of program-related fundraisers and activities throughout the year. Two major club-sponsored events include the annual Car Care event in October and the annual Car Show For a Cause in April. Proceeds from both events benefit a local charity, which is voted on by the students at the beginning of each academic year. For the last four years, students have voted to raise funds for Make-A-Wish® of South Dakota. In that time, the Auto Club (comprised of students from the Automotive Technology, Custom Paint & Fabrication, and High Performance Engine Machining programs) has raised a grand total of $5,744.57!
In addition to Auto Club fundraisers, students in the auto program dedicate themselves to the betterment of the community. Volunteering in community service projects is emphasized inside and outside of the classroom as a means of developing critical thinking and leadership skills that will benefit the student personally and professionally. Examples include hosting local third graders in the classroom and providing hands-on auto-related activities; volunteering community service hours to fill and place sandbags during recent flooding in the community; volunteering time and talent to split wood, clean the barn, and provide other manpower activities at Joy Ranch, and student participation in hometown charity/benefit events.
If there’s one thing students in the Automotive Technology program can count on, it’s having fun! Students work hard in and out of the classroom, but the faculty ensures that students have fun along the way by encouraging participation in extracurricular activities. Throughout the school year, auto students take part in plenty of school-sponsored activities such as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month ‘fashion’ contest, the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ event, and intramural events.