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Step One Automotive donates Ford Focus to Crestview High School Automotive Program

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, Step One Automotive Group demonstrated its commitment to community partnership by donating a 2014 Ford Focus to the Crestview High School Automotive Program.  The donation […]

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, Step One Automotive Group demonstrated its commitment to community partnership by donating a 2014 Ford Focus to the Crestview High School Automotive Program. 

  • The presentation took place in front of the school, with representatives from Step One Automotive, school district staff, and Crestview High School teachers in attendance.

The donation of the newer car will provide automotive students with valuable hands-on experience working with modern technology, a privilege they don’t always have access to. Instructor Damon Welch, along with his students, gratefully accepted the vehicle from Step One Automotive.

Marrianna Harper, Marketing Manager for Step One Automotive Crestview Area, expressed her excitement about the donation, stating, “This has been an ongoing effort for over a year for us to be here at this moment. It’s a big deal for Crestview High School and it’s a big deal for Step One Automotive.”

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten, a former high school teacher in his second career, praised the partnership between the community, businesses, and the high school. 

  • “Step One, thank you so much for stepping up to the plate and supplying this car so our students can get the well-rounded education they need. It’s not all about textbooks. A lot of it has to be hands on,” he said.

Superintendent Marcus Chambers emphasized the importance of community sponsors and partnerships in education. “Step One is the epitome of that partnership and we’re blessed to have a number of partners,” he said, highlighting the significance of career and technical education in supporting local industries.

Chambers went on to explain that while core subjects like English, math, science, and social studies remain important, education is evolving to include a stronger focus on career and technical education. 

  • The school district currently offers 19 different programs designed to support local industries and provide students with marketable skills they can use after graduating from high school.

“They’re learning skills and trades that they can take beyond high school. They will have marketable skills and go straight into the community, give back and make a good wage,” Chambers said, praising the efforts of Principal Victoria Hayden, Instructor Damon Welch, and the automotive program at Crestview High School.

He also pointed out the success of former Crestview High School students, highlighting a former automotive student who was in attendance this morning and now works for Step One.

“Our automotive program here at Crestview High School is second to none,” he said.

Instructor Damon Welch explaining how this Ford Focus from Step One will aid his teaching in the program

Automotive Instructor Damon Welch noted that the donation was the result of a two to three-year effort, with the last year being crucial in getting corporate approval.

“This is a blessing from Step One for us. We just want to thank them once again,” he said, adding that Step One not only supports the program with donations but also hires graduates from the automotive program.

General Sales Manager Luke Golden of the Ford Crestview location

Luke Golden, Sales Manager at Ford Crestview, emphasized the importance of building and mentoring relationships in the automotive industry. He stressed that the donation of the car is part of a long-term commitment to support the growth and development of the students in the automotive program.

  • “The biggest thing isn’t donating the car, it’s actually building and mentoring those relationships,” Golden said, acknowledging the crucial role played by Damon Welch in establishing and maintaining the partnership between Step One Automotive and Crestview High School.

Golden expressed his hope that this donation would serve as a catalyst for continued collaboration and support in the years to come. “We’re hoping that we can keep this door open to not only grow this year but continuously in years ahead to mold the young minds to have a great career,” he said.

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Community Comments

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