CATEC students to transform school bus into working food truck

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center is fundraising for a school-wide project in which students will transform a school bus into an operational food truck.

"It's all hands on deck here at CATEC," said CATEC Director Daphne Keiser. "We're all putting our skills and talents together to transform this bus into a working food bus."

The food-bus to-be is the brain child of recent CATEC graduate and former culinary student, Ben Humphrey.

"It was a great way to bring the community together," said Humphrey. "It was a good thing for students to do as a life experience so I figured I would pitch the idea and it took off."

"This is project-based learning at its best," added Keiser. "It's an opportunity for our program areas to work together and collaborate to bring out the talents and skills of each program area together into this one project."

By the end of the year, the goal is for the bus to become a working kitchen.

From electrical work to plumbing and gas, the work will be completed entirely by students.

"They say as high schoolers, we're underestimated but I've seen some of the things the auto body class can do here, this bus for instance," said Humphrey. "I've seen some of the things the culinary class can do here and I've certainly seen things the rest of the classes can do so I think all of us put together on this project, it will be no problem."

The project is currently in its fundraising stage, and CATEC is in the process of applying for various grants to eventually raise $50,000.

The school is also looking to drum up support from the community, and the local chamber of commerce is already willing to give support.

"We support any new businesses in town," said Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Frank Squillace. "The younger people understand what business is about and how to operate a business and how to work as a team, the better it is for all of us."

"Definitely support it in any way you can," said Humphrey. "Show up, have a good meal, have a good time and just enjoy what your students are doing for your community because it's a fantastic thing."

Proceeds from the food bus will go back into the project so students can continue to use the bus as a business-model learning tool.

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