Students from various shops at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School are back at school this week and have resumed work on a new customer service center at the school’s automotive technology shop. It’s expected to open at the start of next year.
A series of ideas became reality at Diman recently, when members of the Diman Bengal Education Foundation (DBEF) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Stanley Remiesiewicz Customer Service Center on June 23.
The state-of-the-art center was built in the Automotive Technology program in order to duplicate modern service centers Diman graduates might see in car dealerships. It’s the first of many projects funded by the foundation, which formed in 2013 as the brainchild of Ed Hill, a Diman alumni, member of the Diman Hall of Fame, and former School Committee member.
Hill was quick to credit others, though, saying “It’s not a vision of one person, it’s the vision of the board of the foundation.”
Named for former Automotive Technology instructor and Assistant Superintendant at Diman, the Stanley Remiesiewicz center was forged from the department’s storage, tool crib, and instructor offices.
The conversion cost $25,000 and was done in-house, with students and instructors from Drafting, Carpentry-Cabinetmaking, Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies,Electricity, and Plumbing doing the work. In addition, instructors from the Automotive Technology program put in extensive time after hours to help with the finishing touches.
Automotive Technology Department Head John Chicharro was quick to point out the hard work of others, saying “I’d like to thank all the instructors and students that had anything to do with this project. The work is unbelievable.”
Diman’s Assistant-Superintendant/Principal Kyle Alves agreed, pointing out that “In order for an idea to become a reality, it requires a tremendous amount of collaboration, dedication and hard work among community members, instructors and students.”
Most of the work was funded through the generosity of four donors: Frank Santos, a 1972 graduate of Diman; Janna and Chris LaFrance from LaFrance Hospitality; Nicholas Christ, from Bay Coast Bank; and Richard Torres of Empire Hyundai.
All of the contributors are looking forward to the impact the service center will have, but none may be as exited as Empire Hyundai’s Torres, whose company is a regular employment destination for Diman students through our Cooperative Education Program.
“Diman helps Empire Hyundai out in an amazing way,” said Torres. “The touch that your students have with customers is more paramount than ever. It’s incredible, the work ethic that the school and the students have. That’s so very important in today’s economy.”
DBEF President and 1984 graduate Paul Medeiros pointed how the center will allow Diman to train students in a new skill-set. ‘’It’s wonderful that they’re going to be working the business end of things, the workflow, the ordering,” he said. “I owe everything I’ve become to my time at Diman. It’s a gem in our community, and kids are lucky to have this school here.”
That sentiment was echoed by LaFrance, whose son is a junior in the Automotive Technology program. “What an amazing school Diman is. I couldn’t be happier.”
BayCoast representative Amy and Padma Vieira spoke for Nick Christ. “The work Diman does to prepare students for the future is invaluable, and we’re very proud to be part of the efforts put on by Diman.”
This is merely the first step of the DBEF, who are currently funding a new storage facility for Diman’s sports and are refurbishing a physics lab.
DBEF Vice President Carl Sawejko pointed out the constant evolution of education, saying, “Diman is a progressive school, a school that doesn’t rest on its laurels.” He then pointed out that Diman is always looking to the future when he posited the question “What else can we do to stay on top of the 21st century skills?”
For now, Chicharro gets to answer that question for the near-term. “The expansion of the Automotive Technology curriculum in response to this new service center will afford more employment opportunities for our students,” he said enthusiastically. “I know Mr. Remiesiewicz would be most proud of the direction the program is moving.”
Nathan Byrnes, Media Services Coordinator