Growing up, Dakston Drennan of Greenwood bonded with his grandfather through cars. He watched his grandfather work on them and traveled to car shows, where he would learn about the inner workings of vehicles.
Now, after two years in the Western Arkansas Technical Center’s automotive technology program, he’s able to work on cars alongside his grandfather.
The Greenwood High School student completed coursework for an associate degree in automotive technology after taking courses from WATC, an area technical center at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith that offers concurrent credit classes to high school students.
When Drennan learned of the opportunity to take concurrent credit classes on automotive technology through WATC, he saw an opportunity to learn even more about vehicles and how they work.
“I’ve always liked cars, and I thought it would be cool to learn about them and work on them with him,” Drennan said.
He enrolled in the automotive technology program as a junior at Greenwood High School, taking courses in theory and maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension, electrical, engine performance – and, his favorite, engine rebuild, where he took apart a car engine before reassembling it.
“There’s way more to vehicles than I thought there would be,” he said, adding that he even fixed problems with his truck and his mother’s car after taking classes in the program.
As he entered his senior year, he realized he was closer to an associate degree at UAFS than he realized.
“The more I looked into it, the more I realized that I wouldn’t have to take many more classes, so I figured why not?” Drennan said. “It would help me get a job.”
After graduating from GHS in May and receiving his associate degree shortly after, Drennan will look for a job at an automotive shop and is considering on pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering to become an automotive engineer.
"I’m very happy I decided to join the WATC program,” Drennan said. “It has helped me in many ways beyond simply receiving an associate degree, and I am very thankful for the opportunity."
The Western Arkansas Technical Center is an area technical center at UAFS that offers concurrent credit classes to high school students. For more information on WATC and the programs it offers, call 479-788-7720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.