The need for speed

CCC pairs with World of Speed to teach crash course on mechanics

1-as-Smart-Object-1

Story and photo by James Harley

A connection between an automotive museum and ClackamasCommunity College has driven high school students to learn about cars while earning college credit.

World of Speed, the automotive and motor sports museum located in Wilsonville, currently offers automotive classes to high school students. CCC allows them to learn about anything from the basics about maintaining cars to fixing and repairing them.

The classes are taught by CCC instructors in the workshop and also in the classroom. Students earn high school credits along with four college credits for each term they take the class.

The automotive program, which is finishing up its last term with the high school students before the summer, has students such as Jesus Loaiza grateful that a program like this exists.

“This program’s been really helpful,” said Loaiza. “Before I’d take my car somewhere and have someone do the work and I’d pay money, and it’s good to know that I can now just do it myself.”

Students take the classes in three parts. With each term having a different focus. The first term focuses on basics such as oil changes and maintenance, the second term focuses on brakes and technical parts, and this term the classes have been focused on small engine repair.

The class also offers a “free day,” when students typically bring their own cars to work on, which offers students experience from the class to make repairs on the cars with the help of instructors.

Jeremy Gabriel, who works at World of Speed as an automotive teacher’s assistant, talked about how he enjoys helping kids learn about cars.

“The students learn just about everything,” Gabriel said. “Simple basic stuff such as oil changes and tire rotations to stuff like repairing transmissions.”

Gabriel also added that students are limited to a certain amount of tools they can use, and said how better tools could help improve the program, along with other obstacles.

“Because this program is so new, I think the main obstacle is to see how it plays out, and how to make it all work out, not only for us [the teachers], but also having it work out for the students so they can at least get something out of this that will help them out forever,” Gabriel said.

Chris Narve, who is a CCC student and is also an automotive teacher assistant, said, “I really like working here. It’s a really awesome experience being a teacher because you learn the most when you teach it.”

With World of Speed providing this kind of opportunity, some students can now save money by doing their own car maintenance, and even earn an automotive degree faster while taking fewer classes at CCC, saving them even more money.

“I would have loved to have this opportunity in high school,” Gabriel said. “These kids can work toward their automotive degree while still in high school, which is a really great thing.”