By Sam Ekstedt
Oct 23th, 2023
If you think of a class, there’s a good chance you think of English, Math, or Science. These are the classes for which we take standardized tests and the classes that many view as the core curriculum that launches students from the hallowed halls of Huntington Beach High School. Not everyone’s chosen vocation lies with the traditional college path, and it is imperative to put the same weight and effort into their futures as many do for jobs like doctors and lawyers. High school courses are designed to lead you along this well tread path as you find your calling, but without career technical education (CTE) courses, it is inherently incomplete. This year, HBHS is going above and beyond to provide for these diverse aspirations.
Our school campus used to have an Auto tech garage. Where the football team now lifts weights, students used to work on cars. It illuminated the path for students who struggled with the traditional school structure. Every broken car students brought was a puzzle that taught students critical thinking, independence, and self-worth. Chris, an HBHS alumni who took the previous Auto tech course, said, “Yeah, it was really cool because you’d walk out with that feeling of, ‘Wow, I just did that.’” This class was incredibly beneficial for all who took it, saving them money on fixing their cars, teaching them valuable life skills, and an irreplaceable leg up for students who planned to attend trade schools, but what if I told you it was back? This year, we at HBHS have an Auto Tech class. A class that is so new that as I write this, it’s not even in the course catalog.
Due to the efforts of HBHS’ previous Principal, Mr. Morris, and Assistant Vice Principal of CTE, Mrs. Robison, this vital course is once more a reality. Students taking Auto Tech have been meeting in the Student Center, leaving campus, and going to the local Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop business, Gustafson Brothers, for an externship. When asked about the decision to hold the class off campus, Mrs. Robison said, “Partnering with local businesses, such as Gustafson Brothers, allows students to receive hands-on, real-world learning experiences, which are often more effective in preparing them for their future careers.”
Under the Guidance of their teacher, Mr. Ethridge, who Gustafson Brothers also employs, students are learning the ABCs of how to fix vehicles. Everything from suspension, tires, and studs, they are learning the ins and outs of their trade through the equipment, expertise, and specialized facilities that Gustafson Brothers uniquely provides. “By partnering with businesses like Gustafson Brothers for CTE programs, schools can address the challenges associated with on-campus CTE offerings while providing students with valuable, industry-aligned education and the opportunity to gain practical skills for future careers. This approach often leads to a win-win situation for both schools and local businesses,” stated Mrs. Robison.
Due to the partnership with Gustafson Brothers, following their graduation from the Auto Tech Externship, they have the opportunity to intern at Gustafson Brothers and someday be qualified for employment there. In the wake of the Auto Tech classes’ success, “The hope is that we will be able to offer an Advanced Auto Tech class next year as well,” remarked Mrs. Robison.
Auto Tech is unlocking dozens of fresh opportunities and possibilities this year, marking a significant stride towards an even more inclusive campus for diverse aspirations. Take the wheel and talk to your guidance counselor to learn more about the waves the HBHS Auto Tech class is making.
By Sam Ekstedt