From the classroom to the car lot: Montgomery Co. students sell the cars they’ve refurbished

On Saturday, a group of Montgomery County, Maryland, high school students will be at their school, but they won’t be learning, they’ll be selling cars.

The annual refurbished car sale is part of the Montgomery County Students Automotive Trades Foundation’s program. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with local businesses and the Montgomery County Public Schools system to give students a running start in their careers.

Kelly Johnson, the career and community outreach specialist with the foundation’s office, said there are actually four career training areas: automotive, information technology, construction and hospitality.

Saturday’s sale at the Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring includes vehicles the students have worked on, and Johnson was quick to point out that “all cars are Maryland state inspected.”

The sale follows a clearly defined format: Starting at 9 a.m., potential buyers show up and get to check out the cars. That does include a test drive.

Then, interested shoppers are given lottery tickets.

“At 11 o’clock, we start pulling the lottery tickets to determine the purchasing order,” Johnson said.

The holder of the first ticket pulled has their choice of the cars on the lot. The process continues until all ticket holders are called.

The prices for the vehicles can range anywhere from $2,800 to $8,995, although, according to the foundation’s website, tags, title fees and sales tax are extra. Payment is taken by check or cash, although a local credit union will be on site as well, Johnson said.

“If the car is ready to go on Saturday, if they have the full payment, have insurance, they could drive off the lot.”

Warranties vary; vehicles with over 90,000 miles are sold as is. Those with mileages under 90,000 have a 30-day, 1,000-mile warranty.

The program allows students to explore a number of jobs in the automotive industry, from financing to parts manager, Johnson said.

“We’re connecting these kids with members of the industry as much as we possibly can.”

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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