By Tomas Palmieri and Kiara Amaya
The frequent sounds of power tools and rattling metal can be heard from the K3 classroom. This room houses a class that not only teaches students useful skills related to automobiles but also leadership and community skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
The school offers two auto shop courses: Introduction to Auto Shop and Advanced Auto Shop.
The introduction course teaches students the fundamental skills that are used in the transportation industry every day.
In order to properly teach students leadership and engineering skills that will prove to be useful in an auto mechanic or engineering career path, the advanced class mimics the issues and problems tackled within the current transportation industry.
“The automotive industry is a revolving door that is changing as we speak. My goal is to provide students with the necessary skills and fundamentals to insert themselves into this industry,” auto shop teacher Abelardo Saenz said.
The main objective and purpose of these classes is to provide students with auto mechanical and engineering career skills as well as providing a hands-on experience that will prove useful right as they exit high school. This can heavily aid students trying to obtain a trade position out in the real world or just help students gain practical knowledge on the subject of automobiles.
“Whether you want to be a technician as a career, or just want a base knowledge; at some point, everyone is going to have a vehicle. If you want to know the X, Y, and Z of vehicles and what to do in certain situations, where else would they teach that?” Mr. Saenz said.
The auto shop class has also helped many students discover a new passion: engineering. Since auto shop not only focuses on auto mechanics but also auto engineering, it allows students to explore many different pathways within the field of automobiles.
“What I like best about auto shop is that you can use what you learned there for other things like engineering, science, and math, not only about cars specifically. You learn how they are made and what the fundamentals are, but it’s so much more than that,” junior Jose Yescas Soriano said.
Auto shop truly strives to open doors into the engineering industry for all students who take the course. Many alumni have found themselves in engineering colleges throughout the country after graduating from the auto shop class.
The focus on automotive engineering in these classes is obvious, but leadership and community skills fostered by the collaborative environment students are placed in when taking either course is also useful.
“Recently we were working on tire pressure. Mr. Saenz explained how to solve the issues and then in groups we have to work together to figure out the issue on a real car. The class teaches us how to work together as well as how to solve problems,” senior Brianna Alvarez said.
From the outside, the auto shop class may appear as if students are just fixing cars. But in actuality, students gain skills such as proper management of time, collaborative working, and innovative problem solving all on the basis of the automotive industry.