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HCPSS Automotive Academy Instructor Wins Electric Car, Honoring His Dedication to High School Automotive Education

February 14th, 2024

HCPSS Automotive Academy Instructor Thomas Dearstine at the at the Washington, D.C. Auto Show.

HCPSS Automotive Academy Instructor Thomas Dearstine recently was honored as a Champion for Automotive Education in recognition of his dedication and contributions to high school automotive education. Champions for Automotive Education, a partnership between DARCARS and The Automobile Dealer Education Institute, honored Dearstine and eight other local automotive educators at the Washington, D.C. Auto Show in January.

Dearstine’s automotive teaching career includes 9.5 years with Montgomery County Public Schools and more than 16 years with HCPSS.

During his time at HCPSS, Dearstine has distinguished himself as both an expert in the automotive industry and a master teacher, says Applications and Research Lab Principal Karl Schindler.

“Mr. Dearstine is an exceptional teacher … He loves teaching [students] the industry standards of automotive repair, from electrical engine diagnostics, alignments, brakes, welding, and general automotive maintenance. He cares deeply for his students’ educational, emotional, and social well-being. He goes above and beyond to support students and staff.”

In addition, Dearstine is a mentor for new teachers and collaborates with other teachers at ARL. He is heavily involved in the Howard County 4-H Club and can be found every summer at the Howard County Fairgrounds showing his sheep and animals. Dearstine also mentors ARL internship students from the Agriculture Academy at his farm.

As this year’s honoree, Dearstine was presented with a two-year lease for a Toyota BZ4X, Toyota’s electric vehicle. Per DARCARS, the cars were leased “to provide these educators with firsthand experience of pure electric vehicles, empowering them to proficiently educate their students on maintaining and repairing electric vehicles.”

Dearstine will introduce his students to the technology and information required to maintain and repair electric cars. He also will provide expert advice and recommendations to Toyota.

As Schindler notes, “[Mr. Dearstine], in essence, will be a valuable spokesperson for the world of electrical vehicles.”