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#studentsinaction - Auto Body Repair student grateful for his teacher, SVCTE

Auto Body Repair Student Isiah McGee

In Bob McTaggart’s Auto Body Repair program at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE), students work on repairing collision damage, photographed behind the scenes for this week’s #studentsinaction. During the course of the year, McTaggart said students learn a broad range of skills, including how to take dents out of a panel by properly grinding it, applying plastic filler, welding, and replacing panels. During the second semester, which is where they are now, they are focusing on vehicle structure. It includes things like welding panels and learning how to put cars on a frame rack and operating it. 

“It’s really important a car is fixed the exact same way the factory did it because of the safety of the people in the car,” McTaggart said. 

Having been in the industry for more than 40 years, McTaggart said the work is incredibly rewarding and he really enjoys working with the students. 

“My hopes and dreams are that if they are interested in the field that they go into the auto body field and be successful, make a career out of it,” he said. 

In fact, he often visits auto body shops to talk to owners and get sheet metal and it isn’t uncommon for former students to work there. 

Isiah McGee from Leigh High School in Campbell Union High School District said he gravitated to the program because he used to watch his dad work on his friend’s cars growing up.

“I would always be right next to him watching him,” he said. “So that drew me to working with my hands a little bit, and that’s when I found out about SVCTE.” 

When McGee joined the class he admitted that he didn’t know much about cars. Now, however, he feels more comfortable changing the basics of a car, like a tire, or fixing dents. 

“I just want to have experience so if someone asked me, hey can you do this or change a tire, look at engine, that’s kind of what my goal is; to have enough experience to help somebody else,” he said. 

McGee said McTaggart has been a wonderful teacher who has exceeded his expectations, which were already high since their initial interaction. 

“I could tell by the way he talked and he spoke that he was a great teacher,” McGee said of when he first met McTaggart. “After the orientation, me and my dad looked at each other and said, ‘This is going to be a good class.’”

McGee said he has really enjoyed the hands-on learning offered by SVCTE, which is unlike curriculum found in traditional schools. 

“For me a lot of schools revolve around teacher based, listening, writing notes,” he said. “This is more a hands-on experience, real world scenarios where you actually get to work on real cars.”

When discussing SVCTE with classmates and friends, McGee said he emphasizes the broad range of programs that are offered to achieve college and career readiness. 

“Even when I was looking, I was surprised how many programs SVCTE has, anywhere from the auto industry to engineering to cybersecurity,” he said. “All these different paths. I was really taken by and surprised by how much they offer.”

For more photos, click here. For more information about Auto Body Repair, visit

Shannon Carr