Auto mechanics class offers students real world experience


Marcus Younger

Positioning the cutting bit, Xena Scott, 12, cuts routers with the on-the-car brake lathe. It was important to be careful with the calibration and to be precise for the best results. “Without precision, the brakes wouldn’t be very smooth, which would affect how the car rides,” Scott said.

Pascual Morales, Staff Writer

Eleven students make up the Auto Mechanics class who spend first and second period getting their hands dirty in the vocational garage.
The class, focuses on teamwork and hard work, fixes the vehicles of real life people with real life automotive problems.
Scott Brann, is the instructor for the program who has been working with GW students for 27 years.
“We have customers who bring their cars to us giving the students real life experiences on working on live projects. As first year students they worked on what we call dead projects, dead engines, which were not customer related cars because they had to get used to working on and learning how to work on and maintain and automobile,” Brann said. “Once they’re seniors they get to work on the live projects, because the customers come in wanting all sorts of repairs on a day to day basis, and the kids will have to go from a dead project straight to a live project.”
Brann said he does spend time double-checking behind students to ensure quality but he works with each students to make sure they have the skills to get the job done.
“There’s a lot of me behind them checking to make sure their bolts are tight and lug nuts are tight and brakes are done right but that’s what we’re here for.”
Brann said his favorite part of the job is watching students learn and evolve, a great reward as students leave his class with a different perspective.
While for some it is just a hobby, for some auto mechanics becomes their life work.
“It’s what I like to do. My dad did it and I’ve been around it my whole life and I just want to continue it,” Senior Michael Lawless said.
Still, auto mechanics is no easy class with challenges arising each day that must be considered before continuing on a project.
“Everything is ‘learn as you go’ and you don’t have to have any type of past experience to be in the class,” Senior Kevin Olivarria. “You learn everything as soon as you get in there.
You don’t even go into the shop until a couple weeks in, so there are very few difficulties.”
Brann said the class prepares students with real life skills and offers career options for after graduation.
“When a student walks out of this program they can go to work and start making a living because the industry is asking for students right now. It’s going to prepare them to not just be able to work on cars, but have dozens of opportunities in the automotive sector to go to after they leave high school,” Brann said, noting that being able to speak another language also makes students more marketable. “They can also go to DCC and continue their education in automotive because we’re dual enrolled with DCC and the kids receive 16 credits. That is a couple thousand dollars saved on tuition.”
Bran said some students also go into the military after the program and go into the motor pull division.
“The program opened my mind to different things,” Senior Ramon Guy said. “Learning about the use of different tools and working hands grew my interest for engineering and that is what I am majoring in at A&T.” {P. Morales}