SMOKEY POINT — The Pilchuck Hot Rod Academy raised more than $2,000 at their first car show on Saturday, Oct. 27, and hosted more than a dozen vintage and hot rod models.
"Considering the rain, we had a great turnout," said Kate Otey, event organizer.
"We made $2,783 total," said PHRA co-founder Dave Grinnell. "These funds are going to help pay the rent on our building."
Dozens of business and community members donate to support the fundraising effort. Local businesses include Brava's Pizza and Pasta, Udderly Sweet Frozen Yogurt, Stocker Farms, KO Embroidery, Sandblasters Inc., Terry's Transmission, Bill Barnes Award Services, Rex Rentals, Accurate Lines Collision and Custom Repair, Franks Doors, Kitchens Plus and Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream. Live music was provided by Chris and the Steaming Logs Band.
The car show marked the first for the academy, which aims at helping young people who struggle in school learn the trade of restoring cars and ultimately find a job in that field.
The PHRA was started by Grinnell and his business partners Marcus Hansen and Otey.
"We work with the Northwest Regional Learning Center, which gets kids from 14 school districts," said Grinnell. "They get these kids that are having the worst time in school and those kids miss out on all the educational opportunities of the regular classroom. Here they can learn the vocational skills they need."
Grinnell and the rest of the academy directors don't require that students get a high school diploma or GED, but they heavily encourage it.
"We are supporting every effort it takes to get them there," said Grinnell. "The words on our sign are diploma, GED, hot rods."
One success story from the PHRA is Steven McMichael, a 16-year-old student.
"He's 16 and he's working at Accurate Lines Collision and he's getting his GED," said Grinnell. "He has a job, he's getting the job skills, earning money and completing his schooling."
The PHRA helps a lot of students in special education classes as well.
"I have to work one on one with them," said Grinnell. "But the only school environment they have is right here."
People who are skilled in a specific area of car restoration are invited to contact the PHRA for teaching opportunities.
"If someone wants to teach a class they can, and the kids can learn something from them," said Grinnell.
The car show won't be the last event for the school, which plans to host a 1950s Valentine's Day Ball the weekend before next Valentine's Day.
The Pilchuck Hot Rod Academy is located at 16319 Smokey Point Blvd. in Marysville and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, call 360-658-3891 or 425-268-0693, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.pilchuckhotrodacademy.com.