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High school offers new mechanics program

Students at Jasper Junior/Senior High School now have the opportunity to learn about cars and how to weld, thanks to a new mechanics program.  P. Clarke photo.

Students at Jasper Junior/Senior High School now have the opportunity to learn about cars and how to weld, thanks to a new mechanics program. P. Clarke photo.

From changing a tire to learning about the intricacies of a four-stroke engine, students at Jasper Junior/Senior High School recently began learning about the ins and outs of mechanics.

In February, Don Bouchard replaced Marshall Corbett as the school’s shop teacher, bringing with him experience as an auto shop teacher.

“Only about 15 per cent of people go to university so we need to give students an opportunity to learn skills in the trades,” said Bouchard.

So far students have been learning about basic car maintenance and how a four-stoke engine differs from a two-stoke. They’ll also get the chance to learn how to weld in the next few weeks so they can fabricate go-karts.

“Checking oil, checking break fluid, checking power steering fluid, how to properly change a spare tire, sounds simple, but nevertheless to actually practice those skills is important so that when they become owners of vehicles they have the skills to maintain a vehicle,” said Bouchard.

To allow the students to practice their skills, the school recently bought some old lawnmower engines and someone donated an old car.

For students, the new opportunity is a welcome addition.

“Having this opportunity is really amazing because I want to be an auto body mechanic when I’m older so this really helps me,” said Sebastien Deering, a grade 10 student.

“It’s a great skill to know because if you break down on the side of the road you can at least have an idea of why it happened and you can tell the mechanics what’s wrong with it.”

Among the class of 18 students, three women have also signed up to take the course.

“It’s empowering,” said Giela Cerezo, admitting she was a bit nervous when she first joined the class.

“It’s a male-dominated place and being a woman here and doing the same thing as they are, it makes you feel competent.”

The new offer is part of the school’s shop class, which costs $40 a semester. The course still includes woodwork.

“I think it’s been a overwhelming positive experience so far,” said Mark Crozier, the school’s principal. “I think it would be great if all high school kids took it, I think it’s a good life skill.”

Paul Clarke
editor@fitzhugh.ca

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