By Axel Rosas-Hilburn & Dayanara Gonzalez
It’s not every day when students have an opportunity to see and touch a 2005 Ford GT and a prototype Harley-Davidson motorcycle, but on Tuesday, Nov. 16, the Universal Technical Institute made it possible for Mr. Martin’s automotive students to get close and occasionally plug their ears as engines on these vehicular beasts revved up the westside of the T-Building.
Only 4,500 limited-edition ’05 Ford GTs were produced, and this particular one was donated by Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage, whose brother-in-law was a student at the UTI. As a “gift” for treating his in-law so well, Cage donated this very rare automobile to UTI.
This Ford GT is valued at more than $140,000, and Cage was said to have been very impressed with UTI’s training facility. At the time of his donation, Cage said, “UTI is well-structured to prepare students for a successful career as automotive technicians.”
Cage added that he wished that he had opportunities that UTI offers when he was younger.
UTI, an automotive program based in the Phoenix, Ariz. area, is not only a technical school specializing in teaching individuals with hands-on training, but they also engage high school automotive students by traveling in a large semi-truck packed with automobiles and motorcycles to boast to high school students all over the Southwest, including New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and West Texas. The day before Pueblo, UTI visited several other high schools in Tucson.
“We try to educate as many students as possible on various subjects,” said UTI teacher Andy Hill. One of his colleagues, Chris Johnson, also accompanied Hill to speak to students and to showcase the Ford GT and Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
During this visit to Pueblo, both Hill and Johnson educated students about how nitrous oxide affects engine performance.
Senior Mireyya Barreraz, who is enrolled in Pueblo’s automotive class, said, “I learned a lot about their [UTI’s] presentation on nitrous oxide in car engines. It’s this kind of hands-on training that makes this class interesting and engaging and ‘real life’.”
Another automotive student, junior Isaac Rojas, said, “I really enjoyed seeing the car and the motorcycle, but I also learned a lot from our friends from UTI regarding how nitrous oxide affects engine valves.”
Junior Christopher Jackson said, “I really enjoyed hearing how loud the revved-up engines are! I think half the campus must have heard these engines! I was surprised that the Harley-Davidson motorcycle’s revved-up engine was even louder than the Ford GT’s engine.”
Automotive teacher Mr. Martin said, “Their [UTI’s] visit this year and in the past is an excellent way to promote their school, and my students enjoy having guests in the class.