San Diego

Morse High Students Help Develop Paint Design for Ford Mustang, F-150

Their designs are now available at local Ford dealerships

A shiny, polished brand-new silver 2018 Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang sitting in the shop at Morse High School's Auto Body Program. They look like they belong at an auto show and, at one point they were, but they were designed in part by students in the program.

These are a far cry from the usual clunkers that the students here are used to work on. Normally, they work on clunkers.

"We fix everything. We fix bumpers dents ... how to check tire pressure," Juan Felix said. "How to change a tire correctly."

And when you ask these students about their dream car, everyone here has one.

"Honda S2000," Felix said.

"Probably a Nissan GTR," Devin Sisouphonh said.

"A Mustang," Dennrielle Velasco said.

Well, sometimes dreams do come true. The Mustang and the F-150 are the Fords these students were able to design alongside professionals.

"We were asking questions, how does that get done — stuff like that," Felix said.

Since September, they've had side-by-side tutelage with Air Design USA, Sherwin Williams Automotive Paint and Ford Motor Company on these 2018 models.

It was a top-secret shadow program. When they got these two cars, they haven't been in production yet.

"It was pretty cool how they took the car apart and then they put it back again and it was a completely different car," Felix said.

After the students were done with the cars, they were transported and revealed for the first time at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association automotive convention in Las Vegas. Both vehicles were then put on display at the 2018 Detroit and LA Auto shows.

When the Morse' Auto Body Program started in 2012, the goal was to provide exposure to careers in the automotive industry. The program at Morse is one of 15 college, career and technical education programs available at San Diego Unified School District.

"It was like kinda intimidating, but then I kind of liked it because I had the highest grade," Velasco said. She is one of two girls in the class.

Velasco is putting that brain power to use next year at San Francisco State University where she plans on studying engineering.

The class has also helped her classmates figured out their career paths.

"I found that this could be a really big career path," Sisouphonh said.

That was the point of this project — showing these students what they are capable of.

"I already applied to college and I'm taking a mechanical course there," Felix said.

And these students can now see their designs on the road as these features are now available at Ford dealerships.

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