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Kia donates vehicles to Troup County High

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and the Troup County School System are teaming up to ensure automotive students have the latest technology in the classroom.

At the Feb. 3 work session, TCSS Superintendent Brian Shumate reported that Kia representatives reached out to him about donating vehicles to the school system. He said the models are Kia Optimas, but the models have paint flaws and have been sitting on Kia’s lot doing nothing. So, the manufacturer said it would like to donate them to the schools.

Shumate said the system asked for six vehicles, three each for LaGrange High School and Troup High School. The cars will go to the separate high school’s automotive department.

“It is a good thing,” Shumate said at the work session. “As technology changes, the kids have to adapt. When you work on cars these days, you don’t start with a toolbox, you start with a laptop. It is a different world today, and the more modern cars they have to work on, the better off they are.”

Steven Webb, automotive instructor at Troup High School, said his automotive department does have a lot of cars, but most of them are dated from the mid-90s to 2013. He said Kia had donated several of those cars but the class isn’t supposed to be working on anything more than 10 years old.

“Technology is constantly changing,” he said. “Why teach students on aging technology when it’ll be old technology by the time they get into the auto industry?”

Webb said 10 years ago, people were still turning knobs on the radio, and some models didn’t have controls on the steering wheel for the radio. Now, it’s commonplace in every vehicle, he said.

“Some students learn better by hands-on experience, and some are very visual learners, compared to reading about it,” he said. “In my class, it’s a hands-on experience.”

With today’s technology, Webb said instructors can create a problem in the vehicle’s technology, and the students have to figure it out. He said the relationship between Kia and TCSS has helped keep the students with the latest work.

“It’s great,” he said. “I love having new technology because it keeps students up to date.”

Webb said students can obtain up to six years’ worth of education in four years during high school. At then the end of the high school, students can take apart transmissions, building differentials and can be interns in the local automotive industry or his Webb’s classroom.