YATC Class of 2022

Posted on 20 July 2022 by JLusk

The Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC), a unique nine-month automotive training program that provides intensive instruction and hands-on training in automotive theory and practical skills, recently hosted a virtual commencement ceremony to recognize the Class of 2022. The hybrid celebration, which was livestreamed by family and friends, honored the dedication and accomplishments of the graduates.

The 19 graduates in this year’s class remained committed to the program, enhancing their automotive and academic skills, despite many obstacles they faced during the pandemic. They studied technical automotive principles along with foundational academic and life skills classes. This year’s class size was reduced to accommodate the need to space students for safety.

“The YATC Commencement Ceremony is always a special occasion,” said Terry Routley, executive director of YATC. “Our students know what it feels like to face adversity and significant challenges. But today, they also know the feeling of hope and new opportunity. They are armed with the skills and knowledge they need to take the next steps toward a better future for themselves and their families. We are proud to have helped them on their journey.”

YATC was established by automotive legend and founder of JM Family Enterprises Jim Moran in 1984 with a mission to train and educate at-risk youth in basic automotive repair skills, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills. The goal of this program is to prepare at-risk young adults to become self-sufficient, productive, law-abiding citizens. Equally valuable to life skills, academic education and automotive training, the school provides emotional support from the caring staff — three of whom are YATC graduates – with an aim of helping students re-route their paths.

“YATC taught me to be persistent and be on top of any task to get the best results in anything I do in life,” said Christian Gaviria, YATC Class of 2022 graduate.

Guided by YATC’s dedicated educators, 11 of this year’s graduates earned their high school diplomas and one graduate is continuing to pursue his diploma following graduation. During the commencement ceremony, 12 graduates were awarded scholarships for continuing education, five of whom received special recognition for notable achievements.

Akeem Edwards, 21, received the Bruce Rossmeyer Memorial Kick Start Scholarship Award. Established in 2009 by Jan Moran in memory of Bruce Rossmeyer, this recognition includes a full-tuition scholarship to attend a technical/vocational school. Rossmeyer, founder of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson and Daytona Toyota, was a devoted friend and generous supporter of YATC. Edwards also was awarded a Volunteer Service Award, given in remembrance of longtime YATC volunteer Luz E (Lucy) Torrance.

Other 2022 special awards include:

  • Dylan Correll, 20, was presented with the Jump Start Award for excellence in automotive knowledge and repairs. He also received an Outstanding Attendance Award and a Volunteer Service Award.
  • Rolando Suero, 22, was honored with the Turnabout Award for making significant changes in all areas of his life and received an Outstanding Attendance Award.
  • Kristopher Smith, 18, received an Outstanding Attendance Award.
  • Caron Sanders, 19, was selected for a Volunteer Service Award.
  • Vidal Villca-Turcios, 20, was acknowledged with an Outstanding Attendance Award.

YATC also awarded Clark Ballard the annual Jim Moran Award. Ballard received this prestigious award in recognition of more than 30 years of extraordinary dedication to the school and its students.

“I learned early in my career at JM Family how important YATC was to Mr. Moran, and I’m honored to receive this award,” Ballard said. “It’s been great seeing young people’s lives impacted by their time at the school. Any small part I’ve been able to play in helping accomplish that is something I’m very proud of.”

Applicants to the program are referred to YATC through multiple avenues, including the departments of Juvenile Justice and Children and Families, as well as by other YATC graduates, local clergy and word of mouth. Many of these young people have experienced poverty, crime, abuse and addiction even before reaching their teen years. There is no cost to attend as the program is sustained solely by generous donors and the school’s annual fundraiser. Graduates remain part of the “YATC family” and continue to receive assistance as they pursue their dreams.

YATC is proud to host its annual fundraiser and community gathering on November 12, 2022. More information on the YATC Classis is available at www.yatc.com/events.

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