One of the greatest aspects of satisfaction during teenage years is discovering a hobby that points to a profession. Sometimes, of course, it is a teacher that helps us gain confidence and ambition to pursue a given path. In the case of the popular auto shop program at Granada Hills High School, Granada Hills, Calif., Mr. Lee Mills has launched hundreds of automotive careers – and thousands of car buffs.

Just as I graduated from the “Mr. Mills” training program, and after 10 semesters and 550 hours of “auto shop” completed, in the special moment captured in this photo Lee Mills and I share a rewarding moment. The plaque we are holding is the Pacific Automotive Show (aftermarket automotive industry/trade show) award to me as one of the “Top Ten Automotive Students in the Western United States.” And as the only winner from southern California, I felt particularly fortunate – but as most people would understand, another reward was being able to show a dedicated teacher that he succeeded in inspiring a student … and a career.

This was the event – and the moment – that sealed my ambition to stick with the automotive career path. Today I enjoy giving regular auto news updates to my close friend “Mr. Mills,” and I now get to call him “Lee.”

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