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Kit car helps students build pride

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Proud Bulls

PROUD BULLS – Bridgeport Auto Tech teacher and Director of Transportation Terry Rye and former student Michael Young display the school’s Shelby Cobra at the Bridgeport Back-to-School car show Saturday morning in the Bridgeport High School parking lot. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With chest puffed out, Michael Young stood with a grin plastered across his face as he showed off the maroon-striped Shelby Cobra parked outside his former high school.

The car was a class project. Young, a recent Bridgeport graduate, along with many other students in the auto tech class, saw what started as a collection of random parts four years ago roar to life as a living, breathing machine.

Under 10 miles have been put on the kit-car, but the hard work that went into the Bull-themed Shelby has been recognized with a trophy at every car show it’s entered, Bridgeport Director of Transportation Terry Rye said.

It’s a crowd favorite. Saturday morning, the Shelby was displayed as the main attraction at the Bridgeport Back to School car show.

Rye said the awards and recognition are special, but the real prize was the lessons taught along the way.

“They learned you have to work together,” Rye said. “They might not talk to another student in another class, but when they come together to work on the car, they bond. And they learn about hard work. It’s not my car, it’s not the school’s, and they’ll tell you, too, ‘no, this is my car.”

Young agreed.

“It’s my car, and it’s a beast. I will say that much,” Young said. “I take a lot of pride in it. It’s cool being one of the ones who built it.”

Rye proposed the idea to have the class build a car from the ground up at a school board meeting four years ago. Since then, the class has grown. This year Rye has 111 students. He also serves as the district’s director of transportation.

Rye has already seen students take lessons from his class into the workplace.

Hever Amaya works at A&L Auto Repair and Performance in Bridgeport and helped hook up Bridgeport ISD with the Shelby kit.

Amaya said having kids build a car can help inspire or guide students toward entering the automotive industry.

“It’s tough, so if they’re borderline and thinking they’re going into the automotive, industry it can either solidify that choice or weed them out,” he said. “It will help them make sure it’s something they really want to do for the rest of their life. It’s a tough career, and you gotta love it to do it.”

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