Automotives class fuels careers


Veronica Kolesnikov, staff writer

Unlike many other classes provided at South, automotive classes offer a hands-on approach to learning, senior Joaquin Mendez, Advanced Automotives 263 student, said.

The class work itself consists of demonstrations and videos modeling basic skills involved in automotive work, and students are assessed by directly working on vehicles, Mendez explained. Students are given multiple classes to experiment without instructions to directly copy from, he explained.

“[In automotives classes], if you make mistakes, it’s all right,” Mendez said. “It’s all about the learning process.” 

Automotives Teacher and Automotives Club Brad Klimkowski described his role as a teacher as a shadow who guides students into learning rather than directly showing how to complete the task.

“[I view myself as] more of a facilitator than a teacher,” Klimkowski said. “Fumbling your way through and learning from mistakes [is how you can succeed in this class].”

Students in Automotives 161 learn what to look for when buying a car and basic maintenance, as most students will likely begin driving soon, Klimkowski explained. Advanced Automotives 263, Vocational Automotives 363, and Vocational Automtoives 463, are for more experienced students anticipating a career in the automotive industry, Klimkowski said.

“I get a lot of students who have never sat behind the wheel [in Automotives 161],” Klimkowski said. “They [have not] experienced the things that mechanics need to experience, [such as] the way a brake pedal feels.”

Sophomore Ella Schriber is one of the only female students in what is a male-dominated class, Schriber said. For Schriber, the class environment is not affected by her gender. She views it as a welcoming space where students have a positive experience while learning. 

“Everyone in class gets [an] opportunity to do the hands-on work,” Schriber stated. “It’s really fun and it’s educational.”

For Mendez, Automotives 161 and Advanced Automotives 263 have been his favorite classes he has taken at South. 

“I want to go into the automotive field,” Mendez said. “All the knowledge I’m learning [in Advanced Automotives 263] is adding to [the car repair skills] that I already [have].”