- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

CORINTH, Miss. (AP) - Local automotive class high schoolers are now in the driver’s seat of a Corolla.

The Alcorn Career and Technical Center was one of seven recipients of a 2014 Toyota Corolla donated by the Blue Springs Toyota Mississippi plant.

“The new car is providing a great opportunity for the students,” said instructor Lee Busby. “It will help these young people learn more about Toyota products and pretty much all newly produced cars.”

Students from Alcorn Central High School, Biggersville High School, Corinth High School and Kossuth High School will have the opportunity to tear apart and rebuild the car while learning about the latest vehicle technology.

Center director Rodney Hopper said he hopes the addition will help better prepare his vocational school students ahead of possible careers in the automotive industry.

“The Corolla donated by Toyota Mississippi will allow our students to train on some of the latest technology in automotive services and manufacturing,” Hopper said.

The Corollas the company donated are called trial vehicles, which are built to teach team members the automotive manufacturing process, according to Toyota.

“It will definitely benefit the students down the road,” added Busby. “It might even help some of them get a job with Toyota one day.”

When the class first received their Corolla, it was disabled.

“We actually fixed the problem on the car and can now drive it. However, we can’t drive it on any public roads — that was part of the agreement with Toyota when we were given the car,” he said.

In the vo-tech’s garage, Busby’s students normally only work on older vehicles. After receiving the new Corolla in November, the instructor said his students has already been tested on the new car.

“I created a problem on the car and the students had to find and fix the problem. They used process of elimination and all my classes were able to pin point the problem fairly quickly,” Busby added.

For Alcorn Central student Lucus Turner, the Corolla is unlike anything he has ever worked on.

“It’s the most advanced car we have here,” he said. “It’s really helping us learn more about the future of the car industry.”

Career and technology centers in Itawamba, Lowndes, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union also received donated cars from Toyota in November.

Toyota Mississippi made a similar donation in 2013 when they gave away 29 vehicles to area schools.

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