Alexandria Community Christian School students learn about cars and more at Car Care Program

During a 12-week course, students learned about all things vehicles, including identification of tools and measurements, insurance and budgeting.

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Kris Chisholm, left, executive director of the Car Care Program, looks under a vehicle with Ashlyn Christians and David Maher, students at Alexandria Community Christian School.
Contributed photo / Alexandria Community Christian School

ALEXANDRIA — Five students from Alexandria Community Christian School, formerly New Testament Christian School, got to experience service-learning in a unique and hands-on way at the Car Care Program of Alexandria during a 12-week course that started in December and ended in March.

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Alexandria Community Christian Schools students are pictured with Kris Chisholm, left, Car Care Program executive director and Shawn Mathwig, Car Care Program shop manager. The students are, from left, Chase Collins, AJ Cottington, Ashley Larson, Ashlyn Christians, David Maher and Shawn Mathwig.
Contributed photo / Alexandria Community Christian School

During the 12-week course, the students, who were juniors and seniors, learned about all things related to vehicles — identification of tools and measurements, insurance and budgeting. They also learned about car care knowledge and know-how, including mounting and balancing tires, brakes and simple repairs, oil and tire changes and more.

As a final assessment, students worked through an entire vehicle check-list, using the necessary tools, equipment and knowledge to measure the quality of a vehicle and determine yet needed repairs.

According to Head of School Jaci Loween, in order to offer hands-on, high-interest and real-life learning experiences for 7th through 12th grade students for their elective course, the school seeks out partnerships in the community.

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Students from Alexandria Community Christian School learn about cars and more at the Car Care Program in Alexandria.
Contributed photo / Alexandria Community Christian School

"The aim is to get kids involved in the community, prepared for life and provide ample opportunities to explore unique gifts and interests," said Loween. "One such partnership formed this year was with Kris Chisholm, executive director, and Shawn Mathwig, shop manager, of the Car Care Program and Clarke Comer of Faber Insurance."


Loween said that along their way, students were working on making improvements to cars that were donated to the Car Care Program. Those cars that were fixed up were then gifted to individuals and families in need to help them gain independence, restoration and hope through having a reliable vehicle to own, said Loween.

"Thus, this wasn’t just learning, it was also service and gaining the understanding of what it looks like to give back to one’s community through using skills and knowledge in the trade field of mechanics," she said. "Because the students were mentored by Kris and Shawn throughout this class, they also gained an understanding of what it looks like to be an adult who serves their community through the Car Care Program."

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David Maher, an Alexandria Community Christian School student, learns to check the oil on a vehicle at the Car Care Program.
Contributed photo / Alexandria Community Christian School

Loween thanked both Chisholm and Mathwig for partnering with the school to help provide the powerful, all-encompassing, project-based learning opportunity for the students.

"These students will be different people because they got to experience learning at the Car Care Program," she said.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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