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Chan Drake: At the heart of success

The results are unquestionable.

Since 1998, automotive teams from Thomson High School has not finished out of the top two in the state -- 14 winners and three runner-ups.

And their teacher, Chan Drake, has remained ultimately humble.

It's never been about him and he won't let it be about him.

Instead of tooting his own horn and harping on the trophies that line his classroom/shop, Mr. Drake spends time boosting his students, praising Charlie Hill -- the man that hired him, or heaping kudos on other teachers along the back hall of Thomson High School.

"I'm just a country guy ... that's been real lucky with a lot of outstanding students in a good school," he says, talking about an automotive dynasty that is second to none in Georgia and beyond.

And he stays in touch with those students, offering them career and life advice. After all, it is in Mr. Drake's classroom where they start their career preparation -- success in the automotive competition almost guarantees a ticket to Ford's mechanic school and a lucrative career under the hood.

Mr. Drake is an example of how things can go the right way in the classroom. He's giving his student something more than classroom knowledge; he gives them a leg up on the real world and a friend they can always call on.

And that deserves a pat on the back.

Web posted on Thursday, May 6, 2004

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