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* GM dealers support high-school instructors


Above: Sunnyside High School automotive instructor Nick Paulakis rests his hand on an upside down GM diesel engine block as he asks a question during  a training session July 8, 2009, at Shoreline Community College.

Below: Chuck Nichols, from Marysville-Pilchuck High School, checks an error code in a Chevrolet truck as part of the week-long training program.

Click here for more photos.


17.jpgTwo dozen automotive instructors from high schools across Washington are converging on Shoreline Community College for 40 hours of training on the latest technology on the road.


And thanks to General Motors dealers across the state, it’s free.


“I know that the K-12 school systems are being affected by the economy like everyone else,” said Don Schultz, Director of SCC’s Automotive Technology Center. “Many of the school districts where these instructors are teaching the next generation of automotive technicians aren’t able to support this kind of training.


“Once I explained that to the GM dealers, they were happy to support the program. Not one of them said, ‘No.’”


What dealers said “yes” to funding are two, one-week training sessions with Patrick Koenen, the SCC instructor for the GM Service Technical College that is part of the college program. Koenen is literally a “World Class Technician,” the highest ranking possible by GM.


“The total cost of the two weeks is more than $4,000,” Schultz said. “This kind of support, at a time when the dealers are hurting, too, is phenomenal.”


Several of the instructors said that without the financial support, they would’ve gone without, ultimately hurting the high school students back home.

“This allows us to learn and then pass on to our students,” said Nick Paulakis, who has been the automotive instructor at Sunnyside High School for 26 years. “The first day, we were learning about the latest GM hybrids and last two days about latest advancements in diesels,” Paulakis said, adding that much of the training involves using computerized diagnostic tools. “When I was in tech school back in the ‘70s, they were saying things like, ‘Someday, there’ll be a computer in your car.’”


Paulakis said he usually goes to similar training at Portland Community College. “How can you pass up free?” he said.


Fred Donaldson, an automotive instructor in the Auburn School District, said that without the GM dealers’ support, he wouldn’t have been able to attend. “The district just doesn’t have the money for this kind of thing,” Donaldson said.


Chuck Nichols, the automotive instructor at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the Marysville School District, echoed the sentiment: “Without the dealers’ help, I wouldn’t be here.”



Mike Frank, Kelso High School


Nick Paulakis, Sunnyside High School


Dick Wynder, NC Tech Skills Center


James McLain, Kentwood High School


Fred  Donaldson, Auburn High School


Larry Turner, Puyallup High School


Karl Hoffman, Green River CC


Dan Sorensen, Green River CC


Fred Treadwell, Bellevue HS


Peter McCue, Port Angeles High School


Jerry Wade, Burlington-Edison HS


David Robbins, Meadowdale HS


Kary  Schneiderm, City Campus


George Sichting, Kentridge High School


John  Arnold, YV Tech


Dave Boos, New Mkt. Skills Center


Chuck Nichols, Marysville Pilchuck


Mark  Yosting, Moses Lake High School


John  Heflin, Moses Lake High School


Kirk  VanGelder, Clark County Skills Ctr


Hillary  Mayhan, Bellevue HS

John  McDonald, Sumner High School


Don Reynoldson, Ingraham High School


Ralph  Shultz, Yelm High School



Donating GM Dealers


Seaview Chevrolet



Sunset Chevrolet



Chuck Olson Chevrolet



Doug’s Northwest Cadillac, Hummer



Brotherton Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, GMC



Roy Robinson Chevrolet



Brooks Biddle Chevrolet



Speedway Chevrolet



Lee Johnson Chevrolet



Kirkland Pontiac, Buick, GMC



Cadillac of Bellevue



Valley Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, GMC

Mount Vernon


Valley Buick, Pontiac, GMC



Ruddell Auto Mall

Port Angeles

SCC /Jim Hills

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