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SVVSD students build trophy for local car show

The students get to judge the category their trophy was built for.
(Left to right) Chester Clark, Todd Smith, Vaughn Smith and Garrett Johnson worked with classmate Preston Horton (not pictured) to build a one-of-a-kind trophy for a local car show.

For the last two and half decades, Top of the Rockies Corvette Association, or TORCA, has hosted a car show at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. This year the organization sought out the help of some St. Vrain Valley students to create a new category entry.

TORCA hosts the Show Us Your Chevy car show each summer at the fairgrounds. Since entries are free the show draws around 200 entries. 

According to Bob Keener, co-chair of TORCA, cars are divided into categories that receive prizes and trophies. 

In the past, those trophies have been very generic, Keener said. 

“They’re can trophies, nothing simple or innovative,” he said. 

However, this year the group was looking for a change. They wanted at least one trophy that was unique to the event. 

Keener said a member pointed out that students who attend SVVSD’s Career Elevation and Technology Center may be a perfect fit to create the new trophy.

“We are always interested in trying to get people more interested — kids especially — growing up in the car culture,” Keener said. 

The manufacturing program is in its fourth year, according to manufacturing instructor Chester Clark. The program offers students concurrent enrollment opportunities while developing industry skills, according to the SVVSD website. The program allows students to explore manufacturing, engineering, mechatronics, electronics, welding, plastics and optics. 

“There is a huge need for skilled workers, be it directly in the industry — maybe getting some (certifications) outside of school — or doing the four-year track-minded employee thing,” Clark said. 

Three students and a student volunteer of the Advanced Manufacturing Academy within the CETC took on the challenge of building a one-of-a-kind trophy for the car show.

Garrett Johnson, Preston Horton and Vaughn Smith worked with volunteer Todd Smith on the project. All except Todd Smith are SVVSD seniors. Todd Smith graduated last year but has returned to assist students in learning skills such as welding and woodworking. 

Keener and the TORCA group left the entire design of the trophy up to the students.

Without a concrete idea, Vaughn Smith said the challenge was settling on one idea but inspirations soon came when the four young men visited the automotive shop at CETC. 

In the automotive shop, the young men found a transmission and were given permission to tear it apart for parts. Inside they found a series of gears and knew those parts should make up the trophy.

They spend several days disassembling the transmission, carefully removing all the best-looking gears.

After removing the gears, the next challenge became whether or not the metal of the gears could be welded together. This involved a lot of research and engineering, Vaughn Smith said. 

Johnson welded all the gears together, Todd Smith worked on the plaque and the wood base, Vaughn Smith added the final touches and polish to the piece and Horton lent a hand wherever he was asked. 

“This was special because — we have made other trophies before — we wanted to be ambitious … we wanted to make it something that we never even tried, and we did,” Todd Smith said. 

Although these four students were able to complete the project, they said they recognize they are not strong in all areas of the shop. Todd Smith said one benefit to working with so many people in the shop is being able to identify the strengths of others.

“If we are working on something and find something we can’t do or need another hand, we can grab somebody and ask “hey, do you want to help us with this project?” Todd Smith said. “It builds an amazing team.”

The Show Us Your Chevy is scheduled for May 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, located at 9595 Nelson Road.

The trophy created by the SVVSD students has been created for the Student’s Choice Award. These four students and Clark will judge the winner on the day of the event. 

“To me letting the students present their trophy … I can’t imagine that being any cooler,” Todd Smith said.