The South Lake auto shop program was given a fresh start this fall in a brand new facility
Layla McMurtrie ’19
Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
With this year came a new opportunity for South Lake auto students as they were able to participate in a brand new program in a different facility.
Students who planned on taking auto this school year at South Lake must now travel by bus or by their own means to the DRIVE One TechCenter in Roseville to take the class along with students from many other Michigan school districts.
At first, some students were worried that there would be no auto classes at all, but these fears were quickly resolved when they learned of the new facility that they would be attending.
“I thought they were just gonna get rid of the auto program and put me in some random class, but I’m glad they didn’t,” says senior Clint Kirchner.
While having the auto program located in the school in past years was more convenient, the new program gives South Lake auto students a tremendous new opportunity. “There’s a lot more space and there’s more things to work on. They have a lot of machines and it seems like it’s definitely a better environment for auto,” says Kirchner.
Compared to previous years, the new program gives students more educational opportunities; and the facility itself gives the students more space as well as better access to materials.
“It is a lot better than what I saw at South Lake last year; There’s so much more experience that you can gain from there, it’s more hands on, and it’s just great,” says junior Julianna Torres. “It was a lot smaller there and here it’s huge; We actually get to work on some really nice cars, which is really cool,” adds Torres.
Senior Joshua Junious agrees and says that the new center has a large number of resources on hand so the students can have a more educational, hands-on experience.
“There, we didn’t have a lot of stuff, so if we wanted to really do anything we had to work on our own cars. The new place has a lot of fun things and you get to work on some exciting stuff,” says Junious.
In addition to the spaciousness of the DRIVE One Center, there are also students coming from even more schools than before, adding a larger sense of teamwork to the learning environment. “There’s a lot more friends and people there; They actually teach you and show you what to do, so it’s really cool,” says Torres.
While the auto program was originally held at South Lake and students from both Eastpointe and Lakeshore High School came to join, now, there are students from seven different schools coming together to grow their education on their shared interest.
Not only are there more students attending the classes, but there are also multiple qualified instructors who have been working in the auto field for decades.
“I started teaching auto shop in 1965 down in the city of Detroit; I transferred out to Roseville in 1967 after the riots and was there officially until 2017 and have been at this location since then,” says DRIVE One President and Automotive Instructor Paul Tregembo Sr..
The experience and skill the instructors at DRIVE One have is another important aspect of the organization that makes the learning process much more in-depth and worth while.
According to Tregembo, if South Lake hadn’t become a part of this program when they did it may not have been as successful or expanded as it has today.
“South Lake has been the anchor for the whole program,” says Tregembo. “They have been very instrumental to making [DRIVE One] doable,” adds Tregembo.
The staff at DRIVE One hopes that South Lake can continue to be involved with them and hopefully take part in even more of the opportunities they offer in the future. “[South Lake] has said they want to become a bigger part of this and make it a vocational center [for their students],” says Tregembo.
One of the class’s main goals is to prepare students for their future careers in the auto industry and have the certification to do so.
“The objective is that everybody goes out of here with a job,” says Tregembo. “We had 100% placement of the seniors that went out of here last June and I don’t think theres a single one of them not working,” adds Tregembo.
Even if students are planning on attending a university next fall, this class is definitely something that can get them ready for real life.
The DRIVE One center is full of individuals who are enthusiastic about expanding their knowledge surrounding Automotive Technology. Whether students plan on continuing schooling or a career involving auto in years to come or not, everyone who has taken part in this program has no doubt been able to learn a ton of important lessons for life. The change that South Lake’s students had to face gave them a multitude of new opportunities and was certainly a change for the better.