Sparking Tradition: Autoshop 2016

Emily Cooper

Seniors controlled their school experience. They could enroll in strenuous courses and slave away through IB all year, or they could choose a relaxed schedule and request to be a lab aid in team games. Some argue that a balance was the perfect way to approach senior year, a blend of challenging core courses with other enjoyable electives. For 11 seniors, their blend incorporated Auto-techno 2. 

Auto-techno 2 was an elective different from any other course taught at East. These 11 seniors didn’t sit at a desk and listen to a lecture, they had the opportunity to work hands on with cars. 

The class was taught in the basement of the school, where the boring tile walls and silent math classes clashed with the banging of wrenches and smell of gasoline. Inside of room 212, the boys worked on cars, doing anything from oil changes to engine removals. 

“I like it because it’s so different from any other class I’ve taken at East,” senior William Larson said. “It’s hands on, and I don’t get bored in it like I might in other classes.”

The prerequisite to the class, Auto-Techno 1, gave students a basic knowledge of the vehicles, the equipment used and how to fix the cars. In the advanced class, the boys were finally allowed to put their knowledge to use. 

“[They] spend a year to a year and a half learning about the cars, and now it’s [their] chance to turn a wrench,” teacher Brian Gay said. “It’s hands on fun combined with really cool projects to work on.”

A variety of vehicles circulated through the classroom throughout the year. The boys worked on Gay’s Porsches, student’s cars and even staff members’ cars, free of charge.

“We’ll work on cars for teachers throughout the school,” senior Ian Estes said. “We had Mckinney’s car in there because his engine was misfiring, and so we worked on that for about a week to try and figure out what was wrong with it.”

Not only did the seniors enjoy working on the cars, the atmosphere of the class was completely different than typical classes available at East. There were no teachers constantly hovering over you, no set curriculum and no district standards to follow. It was a free space for problem solving and independence.

“I can work on a hobby in school, which doesn’t happen for a lot of kids, so that’s really cool,” Estes said. “Just the overall laid back atmosphere and relaxed feel of Mr. Gay and the entire class can’t be beat.”