SAN DIMAS/LA VERNE – Bonita High School Auto Technology students will have the opportunity to work toward an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) entry-level certificate during the 2023-24 school year, a vital step for students looking to join the private sector or continue their education at a trade school or community college in pursuit of a career as a mechanic or auto technician.

ASE certifications – the industry standard for auto repair – are available for entry-level, professional and master technicians. ASE entry-level testing is thorough, encompassing automobiles, collision repair and refinish, and medium and heavy trucks.

“We want to give students every opportunity to acquire the skills they will need to work as an auto technician or service professional,” Bonita High auto tech teacher Rob Zamboni said. “Receiving an ASE certification is a big step, especially for a high school student, but it is just one of the resources we offer Auto Tech students. It is a very well-rounded program as well as an investment in the future.”

Throughout the school year, BHS Auto Tech students will pursue a number of projects, meet with a wide variety of industry professionals and embark on automobile-themed field trips, including:

• Build an electric car from scratch, using reusable electric vehicle kits provided by The Switch Lab, which include all wiring, seats, lights, seat belts, windscreen, tools and curriculum. Five Bonita Auto Tech students assembled the program’s first electric car during the 2022-23 school year.
• Participate in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) race-day events through its Youth and Education Services program. Students will receive tutorials, work with professional NHRA mechanics and tire-changers, tour the dragstrip, watch the races and receive souvenirs.
• Meet with tool manufacturers such as Snap-On and Matco, giving the students a look at their tool inventory, and offering significant discounts to students looking to purchase their own tools.
• Visit local car museums like the Lions Automobilia Museum in Carson, where students will view an extraordinary array of classic, vintage and restored race cars, a history of California car culture, genuine parts from a 1960s-era “speed shop,” as well as a replica of the famed Lions Drag Strip, which served the L.A. area from 1955 to 1992.
• Meet with representatives from colleges and trade schools that offer advanced, industry-regulated auto tech and repair programs, such as Citrus College, Pomona Fairplex Career and Technical Education Center, Universal Technology Institute (UTI), WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo. and Lincoln Tech in Denver, Colo.
• Work to restore vintage and classic vehicles such as a 1940-era motor scooter and a 1985 Camaro Z28. Students are also allowed to bring in their own vehicles to work on in class.
Citrus College and UTI both offer summer programs for students looking to expand their skill sets. Nearly a dozen Bonita High students attended the inaugural Citrus College High School Summer Academy during summer break, learning advanced techniques and receiving certificates of completion from Citrus Auto Tech professors. Bonita and Citrus College have an articulation agreement that allows student to earn college credits it they complete two years of Auto Tech and join Citrus’ program after graduation.

“Rob Zamboni has done a phenomenal job of leading our Auto Tech program and is continually looking for ways to make the class more modern, more educational and more fun,” Bonita High Principal Kenny Ritchie said. “Our Auto Tech students are learning real-world skills, working together as teams, and problem-solving, which will all serve them well after they have graduated.”


BUSD_AUTOTECH1: Bonita High School Auto Tech students pose in front of a vintage truck they are in the process of restoring. New to Bonita’s auto tech program this year is the opportunity for students to acquire an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) entry-level certificate, a vital step for students looking to pursue a career as an auto technician or mechanic.

BUSD_AUTOTECH2: Bonita High School Auto Tech students are all smiles as they look under the hood of a classic muscle car, part of a multi-faceted curriculum that prepares students for careers as auto technicians, which is supplemented by campus visits by industry professionals, field trips to auto museums, meetings with community college and trade school representatives and participation in an NHRA race event.