This lesson extends far beyond the classroom walls.
“What if we could get our cars donated, have our students do as much as they could on the cars, fix them up, clean them up, and then donate it on,” said Kevin Koeppen, industry & career division leader.
It’s a project with a special purpose. Students in Autos 2 at Prairie Ridge High School are putting in the work to repair a donated Jeep.
“We’re going through the brakes, fluids, filters, we’re going to have to remove and then replace the transmission. That’s not something high school students do every day,” said Matt Hardt, auto teacher.
When students complete the repairs, they will donate the Jeep to the Cars Ministry, an organization which provides reliable transportation to families in need.
“When I heard about the project I was actually really excited because it was something I could do that would help out another person and apply my skill to,” said Daniel Bruce, Autos 2 student.
Teaching auto students that their work, as a car mechanic, is a service others depend on.
“Even though you get to learn everything about cars while you’re in this class, and fixing them up, but it’s definitely knowing that we’re donating it to someone that needs it,” said Ryan Nathan, Autos 2 student.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the community. Prairie Ridge High School’s auto program recently received several car donations from local families and a generous $37,000 donation in parts from Motorwerks in South Barrington.
“It shows that as a mechanic you’re doing more than turning a wrench, not only is it showing what they can do skill wise, but it’s showing that as a mechanic you truly serve a purpose to your customer,” said Koeppen.
Students are getting hands-on experience while also paying it forward. They are helping those who need it most.
“They’ve taken the ball and run with it,” said Hardt.
“I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is seeing it roll out of the bay and it’s going to someone that needs it,” said Bruce.