Photo by Raya Lehan
Bright sparks from the power tools and the sound of a pounding hammer filled the room as students worked to reconstruct a car damaged in an accident. Instead of attending a regular first block class, the students enrolled in Auto Collision Technology through the Eudora Vo-tech program spend their mornings learning the fundamentals of auto repair.
The class is one of five courses offered by the Vo-tech program. Students in the class catch a bus at 7:00 am to the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center to develop a better understanding of what it is like to work in the automotive industry.
“We learn how fix any type of collision on a car, and how to do it properly and safely,” senior Austin Dyche said.
One of the biggest assets the class provides is real-world experience, as students learn how to repair damaged vehicles by working on cars of paying customers.
“The class prepares us a lot by giving us hands-on training,” junior Henry Cahill said. “The teacher came from the field, so he knows the best way to learn is to be working instead of sitting around taking notes.”
Students learn various aspects of auto repair, such as welding, replacing glass, and fixing broken hardware. According to junior Jordan Purvis, the constant work done by students allows them to improve their skills.
“The class is a lot of repetition,” Purvis said. “We get a lot of work experience that way to make sure we all know what we’re doing.”
Cahill said the course gives him an opportunity to explore the many duties of an auto mechanic by letting students work on new projects each day.
“Our teacher always gives us different jobs to do,” Cahill said. “One day I might be working on a fender, and the next day I’m cutting metal or working on customer’s vehicles.”
While not every student in the class plans to pursue a career in the automotive field, the program is designed to prepare students for an entry level position, giving them an advantage over others with less training.
“It really gives you a lot of insight on what it’s like and shows you what you need to do to be successful in the trade,” Dyche said. “When you come out of here, you really understand what you have to do in order to be better than the next person.”
Dyche said he encouraged others to enroll, considering the chance to take such a unique course would not be possible without the Vo-tech program.
“The class is great because we don’t have the buildings and the money to support these kinds of programs at our school,” Dyche said. “To allow us to come out here and take these classes is really nice for all the kids can’t do this at [their school].”