Vegas Rat Rods star visits local schools

Grant Schwartz (right) visited Simcoe Composite School and Delhi District Secondary School classes on Oct. 23 to discuss careers in the trades and the schools' participation in Motorama. Schwartz has previously represented Ontario on the Vegas Road Rats television show. With Schwartz are, from left, Luke Karel, Dawson McKeen, Matt Manuel, Logan Smout, Dominic Mendes, Terry Oosting, Harvey Van Der Meer, Jamie Visser, Richard Ernst, Eriki Pucci, Derek Robins, Cody Scott, Bjorn Rustan, Jack Bennett, Brady Shepard, Zavier Ackland, Carter Van Dyk, Tanner Nyitray, and Carter Kendrick. Submitted

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Two local high schools caught the attention of Vegas Rat Rods star Grant Schwartz with their award-winning car featured at Motorama.

Earlier this year, Simcoe Composite School and Delhi District Secondary school won three awards for their work in restoring a 1950 GMC truck. Schwartz, who appeared on the second and third seasons of Vegas Rat Rods, was at the event handing out the awards and was impressed with the students’ work.

Randy Goudeseune of Old Autos from Delhi set up a day for Schwartz to come to Norfolk County to meet the students that worked on the truck.

“When he asked me to do it I was excited. I remember my high school days and thought of how much I would appreciate and enjoy that,” said Schwartz. “I thought it was nice to give back a little bit, I do like to help out whenever possible.”

Schwartz and Goudeseune spent their time with the students encouraging them to consider careers in the trades, and discussing the 1953 GMC truck the schools are now working on for Motorama 2020.

“I know that we’re in dire need of people in the trades. These young kids are a great place to look, and hopefully we can keep them motivated,” said Schwartz. “I want them to understand that there’s a good living to be made by working in the trades.”

While Schwartz was in the SCS auto shop he had a look at the 1953 truck they are currently working on. He was able to give the students advice on how he has fixed similar issues with old vehicles in his career.

“It was really cool because he’s a celebrity. It was nice for him to share his knowledge and experiences with the students,” said SCS teacher Terry Oosting.

Harvey Van Der Meer, a DDSS teacher, said the students were thankful that Schwartz and Goudeseune visited to speak with them.

“I think it opened their eyes to a lot of jobs that are out there,” said Van Der Meer. “Not just car building, but every different part of trades that overlap with each other. There are a lot of transferable skills that they can take between jobs.”

Grade 12 Simcoe student Carter Van Dyk said it was “like a dream” to hear Schwartz talk about the 2019 Motorama truck that he helped work on.

Van Dyk added that it was inspiring to have a person that has been on TV for his work on vehicles come in and compliment the work they did on the 1950 truck.

“I’ve always had my eye on going into auto or welding,” said Van Dyk. “He (Schwartz) said he started in welding and then got into auto so it opened my eyes to that path.”

During the question period students asked Schwartz about his time on the Vegas Rat Rods, specific builds he’s done, and what kind of vehicles he owns. The students were specifically intrigued when he told them he would spend around 400 hours preparing a vehicle like the one they’re working on now.

“Because that truck got first place in three categories the kids are taking the program a little more seriously,” said Van Der Meer. “They realize that they’re building high end vehicles, which is something that not a lot of high schools in Ontario are doing.”

Working with the schools on the final vehicle was Flat-Out Automotive in Jarvis. The metal work, body, and custom paint was completed at Flat-Out.

 

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