The Special Equipment Marketing Association — aka SEMA — will support five high school builds in 2019 after the success of the pilot program last year, the group said.
The pilot program, which was funded by SEMA, had students at Santa Fe Early College Opportunities customize a four-wheel drive 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. In addition to the auto work, the New Mexico school “developed a written curriculum and a how-to guide intended to be used for similar projects in other secondary schools across the nation,” a SEMA news release read.
“We partnered up with SEMA, which is just a huge opportunity for us, the school and the community,” Chris Coriz, instructor for the class at the Santa Fe ECO said in a video on the project’s website. “We had been talking for about a year about how we could come up with something new and innovative to help students and just keep the auto industry rolling.”
Upon completion, the Jeep was auctioned for $56,175, which will be put toward the 2019 build.
Santa Fe ECO will participate in the program again, along with C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Virginia; Comstock High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan; R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas; and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Ynez, California.
Wranglers will again be the focus of the builds, but it will be limited to those produced between 1996 and 2006. At the conclusion of the builds, they will be sold and the funds put toward expanding the program further.
More than 20 companies donated toward the 2018 build. SEMA said it was still seeking sponsors for this year’s projects. Those interested can fill out a form.