Students find careers, earn certifications via auto tech

Michael Vasquez, classmates help others via car maintenance


Myla Ray

As he works on a 2005 Ford Escape, senior Michael Vasquez looks toward Alexander Bourqe. The vehicle is suspended in mid-air. “It really makes you appreciate the hard work that goes into vehicles,” Vasquez said. “How they work and get you from point A to point B.”

His friend’s 2004 Honda Civic had a problem. It started with a water pump change, a process that felt like forever. The water cooler issue grew, and it added to the entire heated situation. The real problem? An alternator replacement. But, senior Michael Vasquez could do it.

The automotive program operates under the career and technical education program, where students are taught how to refinish automobiles and service many types of vehicles. 

“I really love the automotive industry,” Vasquez said. “My dad works on diesel trucks, and I’ve just grown up around cars, so I wanted to work in this class.”

The course includes a two-year track, taught by Vincent Seymour. Seymour has been with PISD since 2020. He taught at Rock Hill High School before accepting the autotech position at Prosper High School in 2021. Seymour attended Penn Foster Career School for Diesel Mechanic/Heavy Truck Maintenance, Central Texas College with an Associate of Arts in General Studies and Colorado State University Global with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management.

“Most of the kids that take my class take it because they enjoy being around cars,” Seymour said. “Auto Tech I is a little tougher because they are learning the theories of stuff and actually doing math.” 

The track splits into two courses: Auto Tech I and Auto Tech II. 

“Auto Tech II – they’re in the shop pretty much the whole time they come here,” Seymour said. “So, they are doing what they really enjoy.” 

Although the course is held at Prosper High School, Rock Hill students can still attend. RHHS senior Brycen Stroven travels from the sister school to partake in the Auto Tech II course.

“We don’t have an (auto shop) at Rock Hill,” Stroven said. “I enjoy hanging out with friends, messing around and working in the shop.”

Students can ride the bus or provide their own transportation between the schools if they need to travel for the course. Prosper students travel to Rock Hill for other programs, such as JROTC.

 “The ones that are coming over from Rock Hill usually tend to have a more ‘want to be here’ because they actually have to travel to be here,” Seymour said.  “It’s not like they’re just down the hall, so it’s enjoyable to see them come in and take interest in the course itself.”

The students also have the opportunity to gain industry certifications, which leads them to a variety of career paths.

“’I’ve got a couple certifications because it’s my second year in the class,” Vasquez said. “We get certifications to work on like light repair, so you get certifications you can use in the real world and look good on resumes.”

The certifications are taken every couple of months, with four opportunities available to take the tests. 

“You (have) to know the books, with all the certain specifications on what might happen in a certain situation, and why,” Vasquez said. “Let’s say you have high pressure in a vehicle: you want to be able to diagnose why you have that high pressure, and you need to be able to know how to fix it.”

Of all of the unique challenges Vasquez faced, sharing his skills to help a friend with her car stood out as his favorite project.

“It felt great being able to see her drive her car out of the shop,” Vasquez said. “I had gotten to see the work I had done on her car in action.