Damascus High School Students Refurbish, Donate Car

A North Bethesda mother and her two high school students drove away in their very own car that was refurbished and donated by Damascus High School students who are enrolled in automotive technology classes.

Thanks to Montgomery County Public Schools Department of Partnership, the Montgomery County Students Automotive Trades Foundation and a 2020 Kia Soul that was donated by ComTech Systems Inc. of Gaithersburg, the family will be able to get to their jobs this summer.

Normally, the students learn about cars by refurbishing donated cars and then selling them. They then use the money to purchase tools and other equipment to continue learning how to repair vehicles.

But this time, Elaine Chang, director of MCPS’s Department of Partnerships, suggested that a car be given to a family she has known since the children were in elementary school. (The family asked that their name not be publicized.)

The participating students were happy Thursday when the keys were handed over.

“This was a tremendous experience for my students. All year, students have been learning how to refurbish cars, perform routine maintenance, diagnose and repair issues, and most importantly, work to ensure safety and reliability to whomever purchases these vehicles at our car sales,” said their teacher Raul Ortiz.

“With this donation, students have been able to utilize what they have learned in their high school program to give back to another MCPS family. It’s amazing the pride they take in being able to use the skills they have learned here to bless a family in need.”

Not all the students will go on to work in the automotive field, but at least they will be able to change their car’s oil, deal with a flat tire and keep their car running, said Riley Shank, a second-year student in the program.


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