The Lancer

Barton leads students to success, careers

Above: Senior Tony Kirchner works diligently on repairing one of the cars at the auto shop.

Robert Swetlic ’16

Associate Editor 

As part of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program, South Lake High School’s long standing Automotive Technology  program continues to thrive and prepare students for careers in engineering and mechanics. A prime example of the program’s benefit is Senior Tony Kirchner.

Kirchner is a third year auto student. His father and grandfather both drove semi trucks and thier passion  for commercial trucks was Kirchner’s inspiration to enroll in Auto his Sophomore year.

“It was really my grandpa and my dad who got me into cars and car repair,” said Kirchner.

Kirchner said in his past three years of Auto Shop he has worked on almost all the cars that have come through the garage.  “I really like all of the hands-on experience that you get in auto,” said Kirchner. “Mr. Barton has helped me a lot, he taught me more things beyond the basics when it comes to fixing cars,” Kirchner added.

Nathaniel Barton has been the director of the program for the past seven years. “[In Auto Shop] The kids get real hands on experience working on cars.” said Barton. Barton says that for the select students that are choosing to make mechanics their career path, it’s important that they are knowledgeable about the trade so they are prepared to speak to future employers.

To give the students a real world look at hand-modified cars and mechanic’s work, Barton took his students to Detroit’s 63rd annual Autorama.  The Detroit Autorama is put on by the Michigan Hot Rod Association. It is held at Cobo Center in Downtown. The auto show features all hot rods, modified classics , and real people that have years of car repair under their belt.

“My favorite part was probably seeing everyone’s hard work,” said Kirchner. “I think how unique some of the designs are is cool.”

All students are welcome to join autoshop after freshmen year. It offers a rich, hands on experience to prepare students to attain certificates and degrees in mechanics. “Anyone with dedication and a passion for cars can join auto.” says Barton.

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