Rio’s Shop Program Saves Students Thousands


April 10, 2018



By Rika Meyer, Marketing, and Hannah Barnhart, Class of 2019

Today, it’s rare for a high school student to have the skills necessary to completely repair a vehicle. But that was not the case for senior Colton Fleming at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. Colton, who is from Oregon House, California, not only repaired a car, but completely rebuilt two crashed vehicles into one perfect SUV.

Rio Lindo Adventist Academy’s Industrial Arts program includes General Shop, Metals, Auto Tech, Auto Body, and Woodshop. In Auto Tech, students learn basic car maintenance so that in the future they can save money on car expenses. Colton, class of 2017, realized how much money he could save when he assembled a car and drove it away a few days after graduation.

Industrial Arts teacher Ryan Renslow had received a donated 2008 Toyota Rav4 that had suffered a front end collision. After hearing about this car, Colton joined Mr. Renslow at a nearby auto auction and found another Rav4 with rear damage and made a plan to combine these two cars together to build one complete vehicle.

Throughout his last semester of high school, Colton spent countless hours in the shop with teachers and volunteers replacing the engine, transmission, and repairing the body work of his new car. Because he had already taken Auto Tech and Auto Body classes at Rio, Colton had a foundational knowledge of automotive repair. With his natural curiosity, Colton researched the variety of small jobs within the scope of the project, and ran into countless snags.

“I had to look up information online and usually get help from Mr. Renslow. The biggest challenge I faced was balancing school, social life, and sleep with the amount of time I would prioritize for this project,” said Colton.

By disassembling and selling off the excess parts that he didn’t use, Colton’s total cost for the car was $1400, compared with the $7,000 Kelley Blue Book value. By choosing to persevere and finish his project, Colton was able to drive his car home after graduation.

“Colton wasn’t afraid to get in there and do this major project. He is one of those students who isn’t afraid to learn even if he makes mistakes along the way,” said industrial arts teacher Mr. Renslow.

Today, most of the students who take Rio’s shop classes choose this class for the practical knowledge they can put to use in their lives and saving money on simple jobs like changing the oil or brakes in their cars. Most importantly, students are able to learn problem solving skills and gain the ability to investigate challenges before calling for help.

At Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, northern California’s boarding academy, students learn the skills to become independent thinkers and problem solvers, able to make a difference in the world by continuing to learn, serve, and lead.


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