The next time you need your car fixed, don’t go to a mechanic, take it to .
The students enrolled in the automotive repair course are trying to win as much as $25,000 to purchase new tools and technology for the program. Students from Wayne Valley entered a video in the “Why My High School Auto Shop Needs a Make-Over” contest sponsored by the Universal Technical Institute (UTI). Students enrolled in the program created the nearly 3-minute long video using a laptop Web-cam in their classroom.
The video with the most number of votes will receive the $25,000. The first and second runners up will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. Residents can vote by logging onto Facebook and visiting UTI’s Facebook page (Users need to click on the Auto Shop Video in the menu on the left-hand side of the page.) Voting ends at noon on Wednesday.
Students from both Wayne Valley and are enrolled in the course.
“This course has challenged us in so many ways,” said junior Abraham Kang. “We all look forward to coming to class everyday because we know we’re not just going to be sitting around listening to someone talk. We do real work here and learn skills we would never learn any other way.”
The course is held everyday and consists of both classroom instruction and hands-on application. Students have a period of classroom instruction and then go into the shop to work on vehicles, all kinds of vehicles, including tractors.
The course isn’t just for kids who want to get dirty and spend time in a garage. Students who have an interest in chemistry and physics enroll in the course. Things like torque, the physics of breaking, and fuel emissions are covered in depth.
“There’s the automotive aspect to it, yes, but there’s so much more. We cover design, fuel consumption, emissions, and other topics that have to do with vehicles, but that don’t necessarily involving turning a wrench or tightening something.” said Steve Hopper, the automotive teacher at Wayne Hills. “We ask questions like: ‘how do you increase efficiency and decrease harmful emissions?’ And to watch the students apply what they learn in other classes to this and watch them try to find the answers is special.”
It is also one of the most popular courses the high schools offer. Teachers had to turn away 70 kids who wanted to take the course but couldn’t because the classes were full.
First-year students take an introductory course and learn the basics of tools and how and when to use them. More advanced students learn about steering, suspension, and breaks, electrical systems, and engine performance. The program is only one of three in the state certified by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence.
“All the students, to various degrees, have an interest in automotive repair, but a lot of kids take the course for the practical applications it offers,” said Steve Hopper, the automotive teacher at Wayne Valley. “These kids learn real-world skills that they can apply immediately to their own lives and make them better.”
Brian Jankowitz fixed the breaks on his English teacher’s car.
“You learn a lot about being responsible,” Jankowitz said. "And you learn how to troubleshoot problems. The next time your check engine light comes on in your car and you hear something wrong, you might be able to pinpoint the problem."