PTHS Automotive Mechanics Program Offers Real World Experience

By Rose LaBay, Pine Tree High School Journalism Student

Students learning aspects of life that will help them after they leave school was in full view this week at Pine Tree High School in Richard Westbrook’s Automotive Mechanics class. Pine Tree High School’s automotive program received, installed and trained on how to operate a four wheel alignment system. According to Mr. Westbrook, the advanced technology will help students in the program learn a skill that will stay with them the rest of their lives. “The system, which will be added to the already fully stocked class vehicle lift, will be able to check tires and show what adjustments need to be made,” he said.

Students will also be able to make the adjustments according to the machine readout and see what needs to be fixed in real time instead of having to go back and forth, making adjustments, the longtime instructor said. “This really is a great experience for the kids,” Westbrook said. “It’s a very advanced and technical system. No other high school in the area and very few colleges have something like this.” The system, which is valued around $60,000, was paid for by the Perkins Act. Perkins funds allowed school districts all over the state of Texas to acquire funding for technology and specialty items like this system that will aid students in their learning experiences. ASA Automotive Systems, which helped install the four wheel alignments system, also knocked down the price considerably, Westbrook commented. “It’s so important that the kids have this,” he commented. “It will prepare them so much for when they graduate high school.”

For students in the automotive program, this new system is just one more important addition to a program that is continually growing and flourishing. Westbrook has taken Pine Tree Auto Mechanics from a minor program to, just two years ago, a vehicle lift being installed, and now the four wheel alignment system being added. “My students have shown a lot of initiative,” Westbrook said. “The kids that are in my Automotive 2 class have been with me for four years. I trust the, and we have watched this program grow.”

Pine Tree’s slogan this year is “Bringing Pine Tree Back,” and with new additions and innovations like the current system it is clear, that Westbrook is set on making the Pine Tree program one that adequately prepares young people for a full-time career in the automotive industry. Either that, or they can have a hobby working on automobiles the rest of their lives.  “I’m really excited for what it will teach the kids,” Westbrook said. “As long as they can get from point A to point B they will be able to navigate this system. It really is awesome.”

Westbrook concluded by thanking the Pine Tree Administration and Technology personnel for helping his class acquire this system. “We have had excellent backing and excellent support since day one of the automotive program,” he said. “Our administration and technology personnel care about every student, and they are eager to make sure every student has what they need in every class to be successful. It is nice to work in a school district where the upper level people work hard for the students to have a better life.”