SAN BENITO — High school student Edwin Mendez says there’s no better feeling than seeing the car you’ve worked on leave the body shop with a happy driver and a brand new look.

After months of studying and practicing a variety of auto body skills, Mendez and five other students in San Benito High School’s auto body course will compete in the SkillsUSA two-day District Competition, beginning Feb. 8 at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.

In an effort to raise funds for the competition, auto body students are now offering services, such as headlamp restoration, paint compounding plastic repair and touch-up painting to the public for monetary donations to its SkillsUSA Club.

The SkillsUSA competition will consist of different categories, such as collision repair, refinishing, estimating and project display.

This is the first year Mendez is going to compete.

“I’m very excited about it because it’s going to be with other people who have the same interests,” Mendez said.

He believes there are a lot of opportunities in the auto body repair industry and recommends that anyone who has an interest in it should consider joining the course because they will learn a lot.

“I came into the class not knowing anything about auto body and now I’ve learned so much,” Mendez said. “Every day I always learn something new.”

San Benito High School Auto Body Instructor Efrain Villarreal said students taking his auto body course will greatly benefit from every auto body repair skill they learn, even if they later decide not to pursue the career.

“There are some students who come into the course with an interest in knowing everything that has to do with auto collision and refinishing,” Villarreal explained. “There are also students that are not interested so I try to encourage them to learn as much as they can because just like how everyone has a phone, everyone drives a car and they’re going to know what’s going on with it.”

DID YOU KNOW?

San Benito High School Career and Technical Education automotive technology students are also offering services, such as brake maintenance and oil services to the public for monetary donations to raise funds for its Skills USA Club.

To schedule an auto repair appointment, contact the San Benito High School Career and Technical Education Department at (956) 361-6574