Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

Auto collisions fuel senior’s career choice

April 27, 2006

It doesn't take skill to wreck a car, but to fix it takes more finesse than most people might realize.

"It really is an art," said Dennis Abernathy, a Lansing High School senior.

From the experience he's had in a vocational program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, he said he's learned that it takes a certain amount of talent to repair a vehicle that's been in a collision - for example, the body lines on some cars are more difficult realign than on others, he said.

Abernathy will graduate next month from LHS and plans to continue his education at Northeast Kansas Technical College in Atchison in the auto collision repair program.

The decision to work on cars for a living wasn't difficult for Abernathy.

"That's how I spend a lot of my time," he said.

He can't sit still for long and likes to work with his hands, he said, and he's "always had a fascination with cars." Now, he works with them in his vocational class, and he works on his own 1993 Chevy S-10 pickup truck. He straightened the body, repaired rust damage and painted it.

Abernathy's goal, he said, is to work at a car dealership repair shop. Insurance companies usually send customers to dealerships first, and they offer the best benefits, he said.

He'll be able to work at a dealership as soon as he finishes school, Abernathy said, but he'll have to work his way up in rank within the shop.

Abernathy said his preference was for domestic models rather than imports, but on the whole, he's not a big fan of contemporary cars.

"Cars today are just plain : and plastic," he said.

He prefers "older muscle cars" like his favorite, the 1964 Chevelle. He likes the car's body lines, and that "it actually has chrome," he said.

Dennis Abernathy

Parents: Warren and Kelly Abernathy

Favorite teacher ever: Aaron Wecas, woodshop and drafting, Lansing High School

Best advice received: Do the best I can to make the most of everything.

What he'll miss most about high school: Being able to come see all my friends every day without having to face the real world.

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