KCTC Student Sierra Races toward Dream Career

What started with racing her go karts and snowmobiles has turned into a full time dream come true for Sierra Lantz, a student in the Auto Collision Repair program at the Tech Center. The recent class project: her own 1989 Mustang which she’ll race at the Kalamazoo Speedway for the summer season.

“I want to go as far as I can,” said Lantz about her future. “I like Indy cars but I will race anything.”Sierra Lantz shows off her current class project, restoring the hood of a Ford truck

Sierra’s upgrade to full sized cars began with racing a four cylinder Honda Civic for a year and a half at the Berlin Raceway. “We run a tight budget so we race what we can,” she said. Sierra is excited to be switching cars, and raceways this year. “I like Fords and have always wanted a Mustang. Now I have one.”

Sierra Lantz with Auto Collision program instructor Charles Heinz (cr. Christine Vanermeer)“No one else in my family actually races,” said Sierra, who completely owns her passion for speeding through finish lines. She explained that her father had been working with her to fix up cars and other vehicles for years, but racing was her idea.

Sierra was appreciative that the Tech Center has helped her continue to learn about cars. Not only was it fun to bring her own car into class to work on, but the facilities at the Tech Center made the final touches to the car much easier, she said.

Now her Mustang, referred to as he or she, depending on Sierra’s mood, is a stunning black, pink and silver. Not many high school students can boast having a vehicle similar to their dream car before graduation. Sierra is close, admitting “Someday I want an all pink Mustang with black racing stripes.”

The Tech Center provides real life experiences in 24 different programs, helping students explore careers, define career paths and realize their true passions.  Along the way, they develop skills they can use in college courses and when starting their careers.Sierra Lantz is excited to race her new Mustang this summer (cr. Christine Vanermeer)

“The Auto Collision class gives good fundamentals,” said Ken Vanderwarf, a career specialist at KCTC. “It helps students determine if they want to continue into an auto-related career.”

Sierra’s ambition goes far. “We only have one or two girls in class, and Sierra can outdo most of the boys,” said Vanderwarf.

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Adrian Hirsch has been with SNN since its launch, starting as an intern from Grand Valley State University where he received a degree in broadcasting and business. After the internship, Adrian was brought on as staff to continue reporting, editing and publishing stories for SNN and Kent ISD. Adrian has been active with community radio station WYCE for years, served as Non-Profit Coordinator for GRTV, and currently works as the Web Producer for SNN.

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