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Wellesley High Student Initiates Automotive Basics Course for New Drivers

Friday, November 22, 2019

Charlie Velyvis WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (November 21, 2019) — Wellesley High School Junior, Charlie Velyvis has almost completed his driver’s education. He learned about speed limits, how to parallel park, adjust his mirrors, and other important functions to stay safe operating a motor vehicle on the roadways. “But, I didn’t know what to do if my car broke down on the side of the road, or what if I got a flat tire,” said Charlie. “I have never changed a flat tire before, so I started thinking, where could I learn basic automotive knowledge. I started Googling auto programs which led me to MassBay.”

Charlie contacted Dr. Cora Gordon, MassBay’s Director of Corporate Partnerships and Workforce Development, to inquire about automotive workshops that teach new drivers the basics of auto maintenance, and provide hands-on instruction on basic safety do’s and don’ts. “Charlie called me looking for a course. I loved his leadership and initiative, especially in his wanting to get his friends involved in learning about auto safety. I immediately contacted one of our Automotive Technology faculty, Scott Fitzgerald.  Among the three of us, we built a curriculum,” said Dr. Gordon.

In two short weeks, Charlie worked with MassBay to create a three-hour class that will cover automotive essentials including checking oil and other fluids, inspecting and changing windshield wipers, how to change a tire, what to do in an accident, and other important car knowledge. “When I started talking to my friends, they loved this idea because like me, they don’t know how to interact with their cars,” said Charlie. “I’ve been talking to a lot of students at Wellesley High and they’re interested in joining me, so when we start driving on our own and happen to break down, we will know what to do.”

“I’m impressed with his drive to help build this program. This pilot is the perfect example of the type of partnership we create at MassBay. This shows how community colleges are listening to the community needs and how responsive we can be. We are just as excited as Charlie to start this program and hopefully expand this in the future,” said Dr. Gordon.

Charlie’s mother, Christine Velyvis, also sees the value in a workshop like this for parents of new drivers. “I would love to take something like this now just to learn more about the functionality of the vehicles. I wish I had this when I was younger. We had auto shop at my high school, but it was mostly the boys who took that,” added Christine.

“I see this type of workshop taking off,” said Charlie. “I would like to see it expand to other high schools and other towns. I can’t be the only new driver who is thinking what do I do if I have a flat tire or who wants to just learn basic safety information. I look forward to the class and getting my license in a few weeks.”

The Automotive Basics for New Drivers three-hour course will run on Sunday, December 8, 2019 12pm - 3pm at our Ashland Technology Center and will cost $50. For more information on this or other workforce courses, contact MassBay’s Corporate Partnerships and Workforce Development 508-270-4100 or


MassBay Community College is ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for two-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England, and #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.

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