San Juan High School’s auto technology program is repairing cars and building futures.
“I thought it would be a class where I can just hang out with friends and stuff, but it ended up being a lot more than that,” said junior Jordan Duncan.
It’s Duncan’s second year with the program, which is very hands-on. “Every day we work on cars it’s fantastic,” he said.
The students do all the work themselves under the guidance of instructors like Jason Keith. The day’s lesson was showing freshman how to do an oil change.
In an age where electives are disappearing not only is the program rare, it rivals any vocational school.
“We’ll (teach) all the basic information they need to know to go work in a shop,” said Keith, “Cover suspension, steering, brakes, electrical, engine performance.”
The hands on experience students get can have a big pay-off later on in life.
“I think it really prepares us for the work place and gets us ready, because we’re using stuff (auto shops) use too,” explained Duncan.
As part of the class, students do apprenticeships with actual auto shops; sometimes they get hired.
“Our main goal is to get students out of school and into a job if they want,” said Keith.
Duncan is debating whether or not to go into a career as an auto mechanic, but in the meantime his knowledge is being put to good news.
“Change my mom’s oil, fan belt, rotate her tires; she’s really happy about that,” he said.
But there’s probably another reason Duncan’s mother is happy, because it’s not every day a teenager says, “Every morning I look forward to going to school because of this class.”
Students who choose a career in auto repair have a head start with their education because the program’s lessons transfer to vocational schools.