Over the last few months, students from Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield partnered with a local nonprofit to repair and present a Ford C-Max hybrid car to a Haverhill National Guard veteran .
Maria Roca said after her car stopped working, taking care of three young children as a single mother became much more difficult. The National Guard then introduced her to Second Chance Cars, a Concord-based nonprofit that provides donated cars to low-income veterans, healthcare workers, and people leaving prison, according to a statement from the school.
Roca, a 19-year veteran, received the car on Tuesday from students and staff at the regional technical high school.
“I’m relieved to say that we got a car — my kids are super excited, and I can now go shop and get to my medical appointments,” she said in the school’s statement.
Initially, Northeast Metro Tech intended to have students in the school’s Auto Body and Automotive Technology program repair a car during vocational classes, the statement said. But when the pandemic started, the school switched to remote learning.
Robert MacGregor, the Department Head of Collision Repair and Refinishing, demonstrated for 16 sophomores online how to repair rear-end damage to the vehicle, according to the statement.
Andrea Hart, a sophomore from Revere, said the remote lesson was helpful.
“The live demonstrations of the repairs I watched helped me to learn and understand the repair process by seeing how it gets done rather than just reading about it,” she said in the statement. “I was able to get a visual of what happens when repairing a car.”
In December, when students returned to in-person learning, they rolled up their sleeves to finish the repairs.
Three senior students in the Auto Technology Department then took the car for mechanical repairs, finishing on Jan. 22, the statement said.
“I’m happy to work with Second Chance Cars and repair the Ford C-Max,” said Cristofer Davis Romero, a senior, from Chelsea. “I learned how to repair a parking brake line.”
Superintendent David DiBarri said he was pleased students could give back and learn at the same time.
“It’s always an exciting opportunity for our students to work on a project that gives back to the community, and this has been no exception. We’re thrilled to have had this chance to support Second Chance Cars’ work and for the hands-on and remote learning experience it gave our students,” DiBarri said.
Christine Mui can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.