Member Updates


Columbus Based Non-Profit Teaches Next Generation Automotive Skills


By Todd McClure, The Stop Shop

For years, I have worked in different capacities with leaders of companies, committees, and councils within the automotive aftermarket. As challenges within the industry are discussed, one question is brought up repeatedly.

How do we engage new enthusiasts, primarily younger generations, to get into building and modifying vehicles, as well as wanting to work for companies that do?  

When Sef Dechristopher, walked into my shop, about a year ago, and told me about the non-profit he was getting up and running in my home city of Columbus, Ohio, I immediately was blown away and wanted to get involved. What he described was exactly the type of program that I often hear talked about, but rarely see enacted.  

What does this program look like for a student? Let's look at Brandon's experience. 

Despite the pouring rain, Brandon takes a city bus one-and-a-half hours, one way, after school to a 10,000 sq. ft. space across town for a bi-weekly class called Karting 101. Launched by Cathedral Land and Speed Company in the Fall of 2023, the pilot course is the foundation to their Intro to Racing curriculum. 
Cathedral Land and Speed Company's education program is called STEAM Cathedral. Their mission is to engage youth through motorsports and restoration by combining passion, hope, and skills through mentorship and community. 
The shop is meticulously designed with a welding station, lifts, classroom space, "dirty" room, and even a lounge where students enjoy home cooked meals prior to the start of the class. The go-kart area is split into four workstations for four different go-karts. Each station is manned by a trained professional who volunteers with the organization. From start to finish, students disassemble and assemble the two stroke go-karts. Along the way, they learn about safety, tooling, welding, fabrication, physics, engineering, sandblasting, and more. The classes begin with a question related to mechanics: "How does an engine work?" or "How do we make our kart better than the other racers' karts?" and then delves into one of the "H.I.R.E" (Honor, Integrity, Respect, Excellence) values. 
To some, engines and excellence may seem antithetical or completely unrelated. Yet, in Karting 101, H.I.R.E. is interwoven with every aspect of the class. One of Cathedral's mantras is "to do everything with excellence". They candidly talk about "raising the bar". As I talked with the Founder and Executive Director, Sef DeChristopher, he emphasized not only excellence, but also fun. 

Welding - Columbus Based Non-Profit Teaches Next Generation Automotive Skills

"Everyone complains about today's generation saying that they are always on their phones or playing video games. They say that kids today are lazy and unmotivated. My response is always 'Well, what are you going to do to change that?' At Cathedral, we don't accept that blanket statement about today's youth. We find that if you give students an opportunity to learn, create, and build with their hands, if you challenge them and raise the bar, if you present them with opportunities that are fun, if you tap into their intrinsic talents, then you will be blown away by how smart, dedicated, and passionate they are." 

"Our curriculum is founded on kinesthetic (hands-on) learning which has been proven to enhance the brain's capacity to retain information. It also improves critical thinking, analytical skills, social and emotional development, while simultaneously building self-confidence." 
"We emphasize community and team building as motorsports are team sports. And when operating as a team, the team must operate with Honor, Integrity, Respect, and Excellence. No student is a silo. What they do impacts the other students." 

"And what they learn with us has the capacity to impact the rest of their life. They may not become a race car driver, but they will leave us more confident, more aware, more empathetic, more knowledgeable." 
After students complete Karting 101, they can continue with intro to restoration, race crew, detailing, karting 102, or weekend workshops. They have multiple restoration projects in progress such as our 1929 Packard, 1967 Camaro RS, 1967 Firebird Convertible,1987 Toyota MR2 SCCA track car, 1978 MGB, and our historical NHRA Trotter's 1934 Ford hemi-powered hauler. 

929 Packard, 1967 Camaro RS, 1967 Firebird Convertible,1987 Toyota MR2 SCCA track car, 1978 MGB


As an automotive parts manufacturer and enthusiast, I am proud to have STEAM Cathedral as part of our community. While many of us in this industry may not have the time or ability to create a program as amazing as this one, we can at least find ways to support them. While discounts and monetary contributions are always helpful, Sef has made it clear to me that we can make our biggest impact by donating our time to work with these kids and teach them about our specialty, our businesses, and our passion for the automotive aftermarket. I plan to do just that. You can visit the STEAM Cathedral website at,, or