Meet the 13-y-o mechanic

Sanjay Jackson, the young Cornwall College mechanic

Volney Barrett and Craig Oates – Freelance Writers

Describing Cornwall College’s mechanic sensation, Sanjay Jackson, as anything but a prodigy, is an error many should be cautioned against making. He is able to completely take apart an engine and put it back together in a short amount of time, able to replace engine transmissions, and he is also able to do front end and basic engine servicing. This would all be completely unimpressive, had it not been for the fact that the prodigy is only 13 years old.

Sanjay Jackson is the President and Founder of Cornwall College’s recently established Automotive Club geared at educating members on vehicle make and model structure, maintenance procedures, driving and engine repairs – theory and practice.

“I sat down one day and pulled apart an engine piece by piece and looked at everything and said to myself, ‘if I can pull it down, I must be able to put it back together’. I can do from basic engine service to front end service as well as remove and replace an engine and transmission,” said Sanjay in an interview with the Western Mirror.

He added: “Nothing sounds better than a well-tuned engine…from the whistle of the intake to the rumble of the exhaust.”


It all started in the first form for Sanjay, who hails from Tucker, Irwin community in St. James. According to him, he has a passion for cars and engines, enjoys researching and learning more about them and loves to share that passion. Already, he has been awarded a Level One HEART Certificate.

“It started in the Seventh Grade when I was at my mother’s house over the summer holidays and I heard a loud noise outside. I went to look and I saw it was a car they were trying to start, so I sat down and watched as they tried different methods of starting the vehicle,” Sanjay remembered.

As the holidays passed, he found himself at that same garage paying close attention to what mechanics were doing and learning the skill. One day someone asked him to help them pull a bolt and he did so successfully. From there, he researched the majority of the things he now knows on the Internet.


“It was a pity that Herbert Morrison (Technical High School) had (an) automotive course and Cornwall College did not because our school is the best of the best. So, I said to my classmate Bryan Smith, what if we made our own automotive programme? But in fact, it turned into a club,” Sanjay disclosed.

The club currently has 35 members ranging from Grades Eight to 11. They had a driving course that was done in January where students were taught to drive a manual transmission (standard) vehicle. Sanjay also boasted that he is quite capable of driving a standard vehicle and enjoys doing so.

“It was put together by Theo Dennis. He lent us his 1993 Suzuki Swift for the practical test. Nicholas Douglas taught the theory of driving. Jovane Blagrove collected the money to buy gasoline for the car… other individuals assisted us with other aspects of the club,” the Eighth Grader who will enter Grade Nine in September, explained.

He further explained: “We also did an engine pull down and rebuild. A friend of mine – Brian Campbell, donated a Toyota engine for that activity. I took that engine to school and I showed members how to pull apart the engine step by step as well as named the parts and so on.”

Sanjay has led classes on how the engine works from a theoretical and practical perspective. He plans to pursue a career as a freelance mechanical engineer where he builds racing/drifting cars and become a professional drifter.

Trevor Tomlinson, a member of the Cornwall College Old Boys Association, who was a part of the class of 1991, has rendered assistance to Sanjay and his club.

“Our 91 Group is pleased with the high level of skill that this youngster brings to the table, and to add to this he has displayed good leadership skills. We will be seeking to assist him to achieve his goals in whatever way we can,” Tomlinson said.

In the meantime, Sanjay has a project coming up where he plans to build a drift kart. He will be seeking assistance in fabricating and purchasing the parts. He can be found on Instagram at kid_driver_jay464.


  1. With all the bad news that we hear coming out of Jamaica, it is heart warming and encouraging to read stories like this. I would love to get in contact with Sanjay and make some kind of contribution to his project that can help others.

  2. Warms my heart, Jah know we have to highlight the good about us and also support the youths. How about a fundraiser for the youths? Local made products being sold on the worldwide web? Its time to tap into Brand Jamaica, time fi our youths see wi a tek wi han tun fashion. This will inspire them.

  3. Congratulations Sanjay! Not many people follow their dreams or what truly inspires them. You have a gift and thank you for sharing it with the youth. You will be effecting generations. Blessings to you and your family. Om Shanti

  4. Congrats , the future is not all last .We are hoping to find more younger like Sanjay, who can create their own job after leave school…. great move keep it up big your parents and all you are behind this important move in the right direction. I am hoping that more younger will move in this direction of being self-employ rather than think about been employed.

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