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Archive for January, 2013

Van Horn Auto Group Help Expand Plymouth High School Automotive Lab

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

PHS auto shop gets new hoists!

The newly expanded automotive lab at Plymouth High School now features two new state-of-the-art vehicle hoists made possible thanks to a partnership with the Van Horn Automotive Group.

The asymmetric hydraulic hoists are exactly like what is used in professional auto shops, said instructor Mike Fels.

In addition, the shop was expanded over the summer, so the new hoists are more conveniently located and easier to drive into. The hoists and shop configuration accommodate more student projects at the same time, Mr. Fels said.

The auto lab is part of the LTC-Plymouth Science & Technology Center located at Plymouth High School, which also features Haas CNC mills and simulators, a high-tech lathe, high-speed packaging equipment, a metal fabrication training facility, a 3-D printer and a laser engraver. The facility is used by high school students during the day and by college students in the evening.

The auto hoists are the first phase of improvements to the auto lab. In 2011, Van Horn has agreed to donate $15,000 per year for three years to upgrade the PHS lab.

The second installment, received in December, is likely to be earmarked for updated tools, including hand tools, power tools and electronic diagnostic tools, Mr. Fels said.

In addition to the funds, Van Horn has offered to share its own shop, equipment, vehicles and personnel to enhance the education of auto tech students. It is an example of the type of partnership the district is hoping to forge with area employers, to take advantage of local expertise in return for better-trained workers.

“The Van Horn Automotive Group wants students to realize that being an auto technician is a great job,” said Teresa Van Horn. “With this donation our company is hoping to help produce future employees. Good technicians are hard to find, and there is nothing better than finding them from our own community.”

Mr. Fels’ overall goal is for the shop to become certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. That will allow the program to articulate better with Lakeshore Technical College.

The auto shop runs on student-based projects, and students are encouraged to bring in cars to work on. Mr. Fels also provides a range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles and snowmobiles.

Students perform general maintenance as well as custom work. Mr. Fels’ 1995 pickup truck, for example, has a 2006 engine installed by students.

Plymouth High School offers two automotive classes, a semester-long basic auto class and a yearlong auto tech class, as well as independent study.

Not all of the students in his classes will go on to careers as auto technicians. Because auto technology has become so technical – it’s now more video games than wrenches, Mr. Fels said – it offers a great background for engineering and related fields.

“The class is a good breadth of mechanical information, along with mechanical and computer that lends itself to a lot of careers,” he said. “It is very hands one, a great opportunity to experience the engineering first hand.”

Source: Plymouth School District e-Newsletter

Secret Santa Surprise Revealed to a Deserving Mom

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Stephanie and her daughter Lily have been striving hard to make ends meet, Stephanie is a single mom who on some days skips meals so Lily can eat. She has no child support and is just trying to be a good example for her daughter every day. She constantly puts off taking care of herself so she can take care of others.
Although there were hardships for Stephanie and her family, she was able to stay strong and positive through all this.
So on December 17th, 2012 at 7:45 a.m., Stephanie received a surprise phone call from DJ’s Candy and Potter. During the call, Stephanie was totally speechless when she was told she was going to be receiving a huge holiday meal, gift cards for various restaurants, a “Mom and Me Pampering Package” at New Scoop Kids Saloon & Spa to include manicures, ice creams, tiaras, and much more.
Marty, General Manager and the employees of Dane County Auto Sales wanted to kick it up another notch and add more to the surprise by filling up the car with as much food as possible, and put-ting on new tires and performing a basic maintenance check on her car. A special thanks to DJ’s Candy and Potter, New Scoop Kids Saloon & Spa, the various restaurants that donated the gift cards, Marty, Angel, Doug Mellum, and all of the employees from Dane County Auto Sales for making this special event possible! For more information on this special event, please go to

Van Horn Auto Supported Making Spirits Bright Light Show

Monday, January 7th, 2013

If you’ve driven by Sheboygan’s Evergreen Park during December, you have probably noticed some dancing lights in the distance. These lights were a part of the Making Spirits Bright light show, presented by the Sheboygan County Rotary Clubs. In the inaugural year, the rotary clubs had over 57,000 lights dancing to our favorite holiday classics!
The Van Horn Automotive Group supported the show by providing a van to help with the non-perishable food collection, which was needed for admittance. The food donations were divided amongst area food banks to help those less fortunate in the community.

The Plymouth, Sheboygan Downtown, Sheboygan Early Bird, and the Sheboygan Rotary West Clubs are looking to continue “Making Spirits Bright” as an annual event. We cannot wait to see what they have in store for us next year!

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