You are here
Home > Education > Reese Bert Jr. finds his niche in auto repair

Reese Bert Jr. finds his niche in auto repair

Reese Bert Jr. checks under the hood of an SUV at his mother’s home on Brighton Reservation. Bert graduated from Universal Technical Institute in Orlando on Sept. 4.
Reese Bert Jr. checks under the hood of an SUV at his mother’s home on Brighton Reservation. Bert graduated from Universal Technical Institute in Orlando on Sept. 4.

BRIGHTON — As a recent automotive graduate of Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Orlando, Reese Bert Jr. feels like a kid playing with Legos again.

“It’s fun to put things together and know you did it right,” said Bert, 21, who graduated Sept. 4.

Bert wasn’t always interested in cars, but he noticed people always needed their cars fixed on the Brighton Reservation. He wanted to fix them. After he earned his GED, Bert enrolled in UTI and spent the last two years earning his certificate. He also took the Ford accelerated credential training course to give him a head start in the job market.

“I liked learning every little thing about cars,” he said. “It was hard at first, but I found ways to study and take notes. I finally got everything down.”

Things weren’t always easy for Bert as a kid. He tried to stay out of trouble but didn’t always succeed, he said. Completing the automotive program was a milestone for him, said his mother, Andrea Bert.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “Out of six kids, he was my troubled child. But he’s come a long way. He has his goals and knows what he wants to do. He’s confident in himself and I’m confident in him.”

Bert is pleased to make his mother proud and said her support makes him want to achieve more.

“I’ve come a long way and didn’t expect this,” he said. “I have two children and that pushed me into this. I want to do well for myself, my kids and my family.”

Bert is engaged to Abril Maldonado, of Okeechobee, who is the mother of his children Alakai James Bert, 2, and Jaynaleigh Bert, 9 months.

While at school, Bert remained focused on his goal and worked hard, which kept him away from Brighton for long stretches.

“He was determined to finish, even if he missed some family events,” Andrea Bert said.

Bert is taking time off in Brighton while he contemplates his next move. He would like to work for Ford and learn to work on diesel engines. After he gains more experience and a degree in business, he hopes to open his own automotive shop.

While he was at school Bert learned more than just how to repair automobiles; he also learned a lesson about life. It took him longer than expected to complete the program, but he persevered.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just get it done,” he said. “I saw a lot of people drop out, but I just kept my head down and kept on going. Every day you learn something new and that’s cool.”

 

Read Offline:
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
Top