El Paisano

First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo

The+Tesla+START+ceremony+at+Rio+Hondo+was+just+the+second+such+ceremony+in+history.+Only+one+other+school+in+the+country+has+the+Tesla+program.
The Tesla START ceremony at Rio Hondo was just the second such ceremony in history. Only one other school in the country has the Tesla program.

The Tesla START ceremony at Rio Hondo was just the second such ceremony in history. Only one other school in the country has the Tesla program.

Ramon Alvarado/El Paisano News

Ramon Alvarado/El Paisano News

The Tesla START ceremony at Rio Hondo was just the second such ceremony in history. Only one other school in the country has the Tesla program.

Rio Hondo’s Tesla START program now has its first batch of graduates. Ten students received recognition for completing the 12-week course this spring at a ceremony held in Rio’s automotive shop Wednesday, May 23. The ten graduates have been hired at various Tesla locations in California and one in Arizona upon completing the program.

Dean of Career Technical Education at Rio Hondo, Mike Slavich led off the graduation ceremony. He gave a few short words before introducing school Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss.

Dreyfuss took a few minutes to congratulate the ten students for becoming the first to complete the program in school history, and second in the company’s history.

“Our graduating class today is only one of the two who have completed this Tesla program at the community college level in the U.S., now that is something to be proud of,” President Dreyfuss said to the graduates who sat among their families.
Regional Service Manager for Tesla, Michael Ojaghian was on hand to represent the electric automobile company. He spoke to the graduates and let them know they are becoming a part of an innovative company.

“At Tesla, our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Ojaghian said. “As we grow rapidly, it is important to invest in the development elite technicians. It starts with our partnership with great colleges like Rio Hondo.”

Ojaghian let everyone in attendance know that the graduates would start off as technicians at Tesla. The Tesla START students have the opportunity to become master technicians, leaders, instructors, and many other positions at the company.

Natalie Flores, one of the graduates, told the story of her unexpected journey towards joining the Tesla START program.

She had moved to southern California to become a musician when she was around 18. Flores says she focused on working jobs instead, though.

“I pretty much just drifted along and wasn’t really grasping out what my future was,” Flores said. “It wasn’t until I got pregnant, when I was forced to think about my future and think about what I was going to do. I was in a position where I knew I was going to be a single mom.”

Flores told the ceremony attendance a story of a time she broke down in her car after getting a flat tire. She said she looked at herself in the rear-view mirror, and realized she had to be stronger for her kid.

This led Flores to read a car manual in her vehicle, from there she learned how to change her tire. That’s how Flores’ road to Rio Hondo’s automotive program and passion for vehicles began.

“I decided to come to Rio because they had the bachelor’s program,” Flores continued. “So, that was great because I was able to do what I love, as well as get a higher education.”

Like the rest of the graduates, Flores will be moving on from Rio and begin working at a Tesla shop. Flores will be the only graduate moving out of the state, though. She’ll begin working at a Tesla shop in Scottsdale, Arizona soon.

Food and cake were served after all the opening remarks and after the graduates were given their certificates. Rio Hondo College, Whittier city, California state and Tesla officials were all there to witness the first of many Tesla START graduations at the college.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  • 18
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    18
    Shares
About the Writer
Leave a Comment

All comments are subject to review.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo

    News

    El Monte kick-starts first annual Racing Against Bullying

  • News

    Workshops for Dreamers

  • First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo

    News

    Cut the Wait and Pay ahead using Rio Cafe Ness App

  • First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo

    News

    Tesla Bonds Are Falling Apart

  • First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo

    News

    Rio Hondo College honors 911 Fallen First Responders

Rio Hondo College Newspaper
First Group of Tesla START Program Students Graduate From Rio Hondo