LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY, Monterey, California (October 19) - The first ‘School Day at Laguna Seca’ will start when a group of 125 students arrive here on Friday, October 23, the opening day of the Visa Sports Car Championships presented by Honda. The Juniors and Seniors from three Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) high schools, Coast High School, Monterey High School and Seaside High School, will be given guided tours of six activity areas where they will learn about jobs performed during race events:
Paddock - The students will see race cars up close and the jobs done by professional race teams, and they will hear about the skills and training necessary to work for a team;
Hospitality suites -- The students will see and hear about the jobs done to host sponsor guests;
Media Center -- The students will hear about the work done for and by the media from the center manager, a working journalist and a newspaper photographer;
International Expo -- The students will see various types of small businesses, and they will hear about the work done to run them as well as the work done to set up and run entertainment shows, displays and exhibitions;
Skip Barber Racing School -- The students will see and hear about the work done by mechanics to maintain the school’s street and race cars. They will also hear from driving instructors about the work the instructors do and that the driving which young people should admire and imitate is skillful, safe driving not dangerous show-off driving;
Turn 4 grandstands -The students will see race cars at speed on track and they will hear, from a Skip Barber Racing School instructor, about what race drivers do at the wheel of their race cars and, from corner workers, about the work they do during a race.
Afterwards, the students will create lists of the jobs they saw and identify the jobs most interesting to them. These lists will be used by MPUSD and Laguna Seca Raceway staff to further develop a comprehensive School Days at Laguna Seca Raceway program that will, initially, involve students in their Junior year at high school. The program, projected to start in Spring 1999, will have three basic elements:
1. At their schools, students will learn about the performance racing industry and the myriad jobs within it, and they will be prepared to attend a ‘School Day at Laguna Seca’.
2. At the raceway, there will be a two part ‘School Day at Laguna Seca’. One part will be similar to a jobs fair, where students will attend a series of seminars to learn about selected jobs in the performance racing industry from people doing the jobs -- about the skills, work ethic and training necessary to do them successfully. The other part will be a seminar -- conducted by Skip Barber Racing School, motorcycle riding school and law enforcement agency instructors -- where students will become familiar with the mechanical and driver/rider operation of cars and motorcycles after witnessing demonstrations of safe driving and accident avoidance techniques.
3. MPUSD and Laguna Seca Raceway staff will, cooperatively, assist students interested in pursuing careers in the performance racing industry. Informational material created by them will be provided to students. Students will be guided towards academic and non-academic courses of study to prepare them for targeted careers. They will be assisted in identifying and contacting colleges offering study courses related to a career, industry programs providing career training and/or race teams which offer career development opportunities.
Development of the School Days at Laguna Seca Raceway program was initiated in May of this year by John Stornetta, General Manager of Laguna Seca Raceway. His vision, that raceway activities are valuable educational opportunities which can be utilized for the benefit of young people, is shared and supported by Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula President Bill Reichmuth and the SCRAMP Board of Directors. “Throughout a year, we have top people in their fields at Laguna Seca. It seemed only natural for us to organize a program to use these resources so young people can gain valuable experience they might not have otherwise,” said Stornetta. “If only a few young people stay in school and have more productive lives because of a ‘School Day at Laguna Seca’, the program will be a success and everyone’s efforts will be worthwhile.”
The program is being developed in cooperation with MPUSD educators and administrators and Laguna Seca Raceway staff. MPUSD Associate Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction John Lamb; Brian Morton, Principal of Coast High School; Bettye Lusk, Principal of Seaside High School; and Beverly Louw, Principal of Monterey High School are among these. So are Laguna Seca Raceway Marketing Manager Dan Krueger and Assistant Marketing Manager Mary-Ellen Wright-Rana, both of who have initiated and conducted educational activities at the raceway in past years.
Based on experience with youth activities conducted by race teams and educational/vocational programs associated with the performance racing industry in Europe, the School Days at Laguna Seca Raceway program was conceived by Walt Stannard, a consultant to Laguna Seca Raceway. Discussions are on-going with potential corporate partners to enhance program resources and to provide the funding necessary to fully develop the program.