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Summer Dream Academy Spotlight: Car Care 101

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By Jason Simpson Marion County Public Schools

 While many students may have chosen to sleep in during the first few days of summer vacation, a group of middle school students recently spent their morning at the Marion County Area Technology Center getting a lesson in basic automotive maintenance. 

During the first day of the Car Care 101 Camp at the ATC, automotive instructor David Gerhardt and two former students led a group of six participants through the process of checking fluid levels.

For Marcus Hallmark, a student at Marion County Middle School, the camp is an opportunity to learn more about cars so he can help his father.

“My dad likes working on cars and he can’t do it all by himself,” Hallmark said. “I sometimes help him with some things.”

Hallmark added that he was looking forward to learning how to change oil.

For fellow middle schooler Chad Bragg, the camp was a way to stay productive during the summer.

“All I really do at my house is play video games and my parents wanted me to get out of the house and do something, so she told me to look at the booklet and I picked this one,” Bragg said, referring to the catalog of summer camps that MCPS mailed home to families in the district.

So, after an hour in the camp, would he have rather been at home playing video games? “No,” Bragg said with a smile.

Fellow camper David Smalley said he wanted to learn how to air up tires during the three-day camp. Although the campers hadn’t received that lesson yet, Smalley said he’d already learned an important lesson: “Not to open the coolant so it won’t splash up and burn you.”

Hallmark, Bragg and Smalley were being led by 2018 MCPS graduate Adam Bartley. 

Bartley completed the automotive pathway at the ATC during his time in high school and is now attending Elizabethtown Community and Technical College where he is an automotive student. This is his second year helping with the Car Care 101 Camp.

“I enjoy teaching them,” Bartley said. “It’s interesting what you can learn and realize what you didn’t know and what can be taught.”

Each camper also received a free safety kit including jumper cables, a small air compressor, a flashlight, and a variety of other roadside emergency items.

Car Care 101 is one of nearly 30 camps offered by MCPS through the Summer Dream Academy. Many camps are still open for registration. To view the catalog of available camps, including the Dream Bus schedule, visit the MCPS district website: www.marion.kyschools.us.