Tech High program sends girl on a collision course with her dreams

May 23, 2011|By JANET HEIM |
  • Katelyn Troxler, a senior at Washington County Technical High School in the collision repair program, connects a frame rack machine to a car to straighten its frame.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Katelyn Troxler enrolled in the collision repair program at Washington County Technical High School to set herself on the road to the career she has mapped out.

Troxler, 17, a senior from Knoxville, wants to be a field agent with the FBI. To achieve that, she plans to put herself through college with the earnings she’ll make working in collision repair.

Katelyn said she grew up sharing her grandfather’s interest in cars and is artistic, and thought collision repair would combine both of those interests.

She owns a muscle car and wanted to learn how to paint it, while learning a skill that would pay considerably more than minimum wage.

Her plan is to work in a collision repair shop while attending Hagerstown Community College part time. Then, she wants to transfer to Stevenson University near Baltimore, where she would major in psychology, then get a master’s degree in forensic studies.

She said instructor Harold Smith “has prepared me for anything I could do in the near future in collision repair.”

Katelyn, who works as a student aide with the junior Collision Repair class, said it was an easy decision to go to Tech High.

“If I’d stayed at my home school (Boonsboro), I wouldn’t have the certificates I have earned here and am able to go directly into a paying job,” she said.

The modules in the collision repair curriculum are Introduction to Auto Collision Technology; Welding; Panel Repair; Painting and Refinishing; Exterior and Interior Trim; Mechanical Services; Frame and Unibody Construction;  Repair, Steering and Suspension; and Detailing.

Students are required to complete the SkillsUSA Level 1 and Level 2 Professional Development Program to graduate, said Smith, who had his own body shop for more than 20 years.

Students also take an online collision safety training course and are encouraged to take Dan-Am/SATA Technical Training, an evening clinic for those who will be painting vehicles, Smith said.

At the end of the program, seniors will take the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation Inc. test, as well as an exit test.

Six of the nine seniors are working in collision repair-related co-ops, and Smith has them come in the morning to review for the test.

The goal is for the students to earn their Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.

Smith said the requirement to take the exam is to have two years of work experience in the field. He said his Tech High program counts for one year of experience, so after his graduating students work another year in collision repair, they can take the test.

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