Photo by Cheryl Lee

By Raiza Giorgi

Jose Buenrostro, a senior at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, said his involvement in auto shop class and its racing team has made him interested in a career in racing.

“This program has been a lot of fun, and getting to see all the different aspects of autos and being on the racing team has motivated me. I want to pursue a career in racing now, working on race cars,” said Jose, 17.

The auto shop program wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of the Wheels ’n’ Windmills Car Show, which donates a portion of its proceeds each year to the program. This year the program received $13,000, which will help with purchasing tools, materials and equipment the students will use to learn new skills, according to Rob Hill, auto shop teacher.

Seven checks were presented, which is the most causes the car show has supported, according to founder Bob Stokes.

“This year’s even went flawlessly and I am so happy for all the groups getting much-needed funds. I am also so thankful for all our volunteers that stepped up to make this year great,” Stokes added.

Santa Maria High School also received $7,000 for its auto shop program, which will help their students learn valuable life skills. Their new after-school program is separate from the auto shop class, and students from the entire district are welcome to apply to be a part of it, according to teacher Matt Almaguer.

“This needed program helps kids keep out of trouble and get valuable trade skills which they can use to get jobs and motivate them to get a head. This organization has saved our program as we got tools to work with and now the kids can take their cars to race in Bakersfield,” Almaguer said.

The annual car show took place Aug. 25 along Copenhagen Drive and several side streets in downtown Solvang. The event brought hundreds of cars and thousands of visitors to Solvang.

The Wheels ’n’ Windmills car show has raised more than $350,000 for local charities over the years, and this year their proceeds spanned animal rescue groups, kids outdoor education and others.

Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary received $8,000; BSA Venture Crew 154 received $4,500 for uniforms and outdoor gear; Hacienda O’Holland Animal Care Foundation received $3,500; Nature Track received $3,500 to cover the costs of field trips for local students; and the Progeria Foundation received $2,500.

“This donation means everything to us and this group has saved our organization in the past. We are forever thankful,” said C.C. Beaudette Wellman of Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary.

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