(Note: February is Career & Technical Education Month. In recognition of the vital role vocational education plays in our schools and communities, this is one in a series of stories about CTE student and program success through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.)
(GLADWIN) – Patience, they say, is a virtue. For a group of students in the Clare-Gladwin Career and Technical Education Automotive Technology program, delayed gratification will give way at the end of the school year to pure satisfaction.
CTE Auto Tech’s afternoon students are in the middle of a year-long truck restoration that will see them completely disassemble, check for rebuild, rebuild or replace as necessary every inch of a 1986 Chevy K10 pickup. By May, the truck will be in like-new condition.
“This project covers all tasks related to our curriculum in maintenance and light repair,” said CTE Auto Tech Instructor Rich Hollister. “This is a project where the students will do it all – electrical, engine repair, transmission, differential, brakes, hydraulic, cooling system and body work.”
At the halfway point of the school year, Hollister said the project is right on schedule. The bonus for students lies in both the skills they’re gaining and in the way it positions them for the work force.
“Right now we’re in the assembly stage and have almost all of the power train completed, and we’re almost ready for body work and electrical,” he said. “I have a lot of students who want to learn body work, and there are no other real opportunities to learn some of these basic skills to help them be employed in one of our community’s many body repair facilities.”
While the class is doing all the standard work that is expected in the classroom, the restoration is hardly the only thing happening in the auto lab, as evidenced by the very full garage of vehicles in various states of disassembly and repair. But the truck restoration definitely holds a prominent place in the curriculum, and in the students’ interest.
“Personally, I think working on this project is the most fun thing we’ve done in school,” said David Sturgeon, a senior from Beaverton. “This project expands our understanding of vehicles and helps determine if we would like to go forward in the automotive industry throughout our life. It truly is amazing seeing a vehicle go from a rusted out old Chevy to being on its way to a complete restoration in a matter of months. Once this vehicle hits the road, I can be proud to say I was a part of it.”
“This is a great project,” Hollister said. “But while it’s also a very long-term project, it really engages the students, and it helps them see how much automobile basics have remained the same – and how much has changed – over the last 30 years. The excitement of the project grabs their attention and engages the students on a much higher level than just a normal lab vehicle. The students have worked real hard and learned a lot from this project.”