‘Automotive Experience’ draws high school students to MCC-Longview

The MCC-Longview Automotive Experience included interactive activities like this drag strip challenge that tested participants’ reaction times. (Photos by Clay Bussey/MCC)

MCC-Longview’s Automotive Experience had something for every car enthusiast. But the March 31 event was aimed at a specific audience: high school students who might be interested in Longview’s automotive technology program.

Automotive program coordinator David Patience said 200-250 students from seven high schools and career centers attended. This was the third year of Automotive Experience, a retooled version of the longstanding Automotive Career Days recruiting event.

Among the activities:

  • A car show featuring 30 vehicles owned by MCC employees, MCC graduates and local business owners. Students voted for their favorite cars, and awards were presented to the owners.
  • A pit crew challenge in which two-person teams competed against the clock in a tire-swapping simulation.
  • A drag strip challenge to test contestants’ reaction times against a “Christmas tree” wired in to a Ford Thunderbird convertible and a Pontiac Solstice.
  • “Dog tags” printed courtesy of the U.S. Army.
  • A T-shirt shop where participants screen-printed their own souvenir Ts. Longview division chair and art instructor Jim Smith created the design.

In addition to the high-energy student interactions, academic advisor Matt Heck hosted an information session on Longview’s automotive programs. Linda Nelson, associate dean of student development, organized an employer showcase to expose students to automotive career options.

O’Reilly Auto Parts provided lunch for the students and volunteers.

The automotive program also hosted a car show April 15 as part of Longview’s Flights of Fancy Mega Kite Festival.

Here are some Automotive Experience scenes: