May 11, 1998
Andrew Walgamott/staff photo
Carolyn Warrick (center) and Cassie Garwood (r.) discuss financing with Tyson Brown (l.).
by Northlake News staff
BOTHELL-A new car dealership opened in Bothell last Wednesday. Bright balloons floated from new Chevy Malibus, Blazers and pickup trucks while sharp-dressed young salesmen answered questions from customers carrying backpacks around the sales yard. Only this wasn't a regular dealership. It was staffed by students from Doug Angell's automotive class at Bothell High School getting hands-on business skills by participating in an innovative program called General Motors Learning Applied Business (GM LAB). "The idea is to simulate a dealership," Angell said. Working out of the school's auto shop, students staffed a business office, as well as finance and insurance, sales, parts and service departments while other classmates, faculty and community members, acted as their customers.
Customers were given role-cards and told to buy a car that met their needs. After a stop in the business office, it was out to the sales floor for a look at the latest models. Following a peak under the hood and making sure the automatic door locks worked it was up to the finance office for the dealing. Parts and service counter staffers stood by while a couple students manned a hot dog stand for customers on their way out.
According to EdVentures Partners, an educational marketing company which administers the program, GM LAB is designed to introduce high school students to General Motors, dealership operations and automotive careers. The program is supported with a $1,200 grant from Brooks Biddle Chevrolet in Bothell and the Chevrolet Division of GM. Funds go to create and implement the dealership as well as prepare students for the real world by teaching, training and mentoring them throughout the project.
"From an instructional point of view, this is an organizational assignment," Angell said. The program took 10 weeks to come to the point of selling cars. "It started out slow, but things finally came together," he said. For the opening of the dealership, students spruced up the parking lot where the new cars were parked by pressure washing the pavement. They also dressed up. Angell said some kids came to class, saw others dressed in white shirts, and went home to change into better clothes.
He said the impact of the program was positive. "As a teacher, I just provide the opportunities and they run with them," Angell said. Tony Sgro, EdVentures president, said that "Students have told us the GM LAB brings daily studies to life. [The program] goes beyond the typical lecture format by engaging students with field trips, guest speakers and an on-campus event. This curriculum model makes learning relevant and fun." This is the first year Bothell High has participated.
Students in Bothell's program will receive certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony at Brooks Biddle May 19 at 6:30 p.m. The community is welcome to attend. Angell said next year the program would continue, possibly with the school's marketing classes. The Kenmore Safeway provided the hot dogs for the event.