CHESHIRE — Richard Chevrolet was recently recognized by the school system for helping students and the overall community.
On May 19, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan led a special ceremony at Cheshire High School in honor of the local car dealership.
“We seriously had no idea we were even nominated for an award,” explained Jason Vianese, Richard Chevrolet general manager. “We also learned that they only give this award to one company a year throughout all of Connecticut, so it was even more of an honor to receive.”
“We thought it was so special for them to honor us. We were so surprised,” added Jill Silverman, owner and assistant general manager of Richard Chevrolet, 1405 Highland Ave.
Solan presented the dealership with the Connecticut Association of Schools Distinguished Friend of Education Award. The award has been given out by the CAS since 1983 and was established in order to recognize an organization or corporation for outstanding service to education in Connecticut.
“Whenever we’ve asked for their help, the answer has always been ‘yes.’ Jason Vianese and Jill Silverman are the kind of people every district needs,” Solan said. “They share their time and their resources with our students and staff in meaningful ways. At Cheshire High School, they participate in Sophomore Career Day every year, an event sponsored by the district’s School/Business Partnership Council where they are active members. They speak to our business classes on a wide range of work-related subjects and always accept students on job shadow day.”
While this year’s job shadow day — a program that allows students to “shadow” professionals in a particular field of interest for a day — looked very different than in previous years, Solan explained how Richard Chevrolet was able to adapt and continue to help students find their careers.
“Obviously, this couldn’t happen this year with COVID, so instead they created a virtual job shadow video for our students, which is so clever and engaging that they actually have it posted on their website,” Solan said.
One of Richard Chevrolet’s special projects, conducted three years ago at Dodd Middle School, had students in the consumer economics class “build” their own cars.
“We let the kids use the same exact systems we use when we are building cars and had them divide into two teams to see who created the better car,” Vianese explained. “It really taught them that sometimes what might look cool or what they think will sell well is very different from reality. I actually had the cars go into production and whichever car sold first was the winning one!
“My son was in the class at the time, and he and his classmates really learned a lot about cars and what I do, which is a really special thing,” Vianese added.