When Laurel Oaks instructor Gary Bronson got a 2013 International Pro Star for his high school program, he knew that the truck would become a project for more than just his industrial diesel mechanics students.
And after months of work the truck made its debut at the recent Cavalcade of Customs auto show in Cincinnati and participated in this week’s annual Findlay Market Parade to celebrate the beginning of the baseball season.
The truck was purchased by Great Oaks in 2017 to provide the diesel program students with a chance to learn on a recent model vehicle. Bronson quickly involved others. As his students completed the truck’s required annual inspection, replaced the brakes, polished the wheels, and wired new lighting, other Laurel Oaks students got busy:
• Welding students built a mounting system for the rear fenders, built a headache rack for the back of the cab, and used a CNC plasma cutter to cut designs into the rack;
• Auto collision technology students prepped and painted the rear fenders;
• Digital arts and design students designed and created graphics for the truck’s sides and a “career ready” banner for the front;
• Computer service technician and networking students set up a video display with the truck;
• CareerX students helped get the truck ready for public viewing.
The students were involved as part of a SkillsUSA project.
“It was a great experience,” said one of the digital arts students who developed the graphics. “It was a chance to do a real-world project, and I feel like we’re leaving our mark on the school.”
With Bronson’s vision and the students’ work, Great Oaks now has a truck for industrial diesel students to sharpen their skills on as well as a rolling reminder to the community of the professional skills and talents these high school students have.
“And it only took me seven years (of proposing the project) to make it a reality,” Bronson laughed.
Submitted by Jon Weidlich, director of community relations, Great Oaks Career Campuses.