Learning new skills

Clayvin Herrera, left, and Maxx Moore,right, learning to operate the lift during the safety training in their auto shop class Monday afternoon at Laramie High School.

While some students choose to take electives such as band, art and drama classes, others are using their classes to work with their hands.

LHS sophomore Kask Isbell said he has taken several shop classes such as woodshop and Ag Mechanics, the high school’s welding class, but he is excited about his first semester of auto shop.

“I am looking forward to learning more about how an engine works,” Isbell said. “This class also counts for Laramie County Community College credit, which I like too.”

The high school offers several auto shop courses focusing on different aspects of vehicles such as electrical systems and fuel and ignition systems, said Seth Robins, an LHS auto shop teacher. Before the students start with more complex vehicle mechanics, Robins said they have to attend an engine management course.

“Engine management is where students tear down an engine and put it back together,” Robins said. “That does include bringing their own vehicles in and inspecting them. If they discover an issue that pertains to the engine management course, they can actually repair their own vehicle.”

He said the experiences students gain from classes such as auto shop, help them after high school and teach them skills such as familiarizing them with basic tools and vehicle maintenance.

“All of these kids, with the exception of maybe three or four that come into the auto shop, have probably never used a tool,” Robins said. “I wouldn’t say the students are professionals (after taking this class) but they at least have a heads-up on what is going on in the industry.”

To keep the class safe from several dangerous situations that could arise while working in the shops, each student is required to pass a safety exam, he said. The exam covers material such as appropriate things to wear in the shop and how to dispose of dangerous liquids and potential electrical dangers the students could experience, Robins said.

“Probably the biggest danger we see is loose clothing hazards or hair not tied back where it can get into a rotating assembly, like a serpentine belt drive,” he said. “We start them off with an online training program and (they) have to go through mechanical safety, mechanical pollution prevention.”

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