A large portion of the student population, over 198 individuals, drive to school every day. No matter how nice the car or how safe of a driver students are, they can’t avoid the inevitable; that something goes wrong with their cars.
Whether it is low tire pressure, or something more pressing, like engine trouble, many students remain unprepared to remedy these issues.
Sophomore Tipton May is among the many students who are uninformed about how to care for their cars in the event of a malfunction.
“In the hypothetical situation that I was to be stuck on the side of the road with a technical issue, I would not know what to do,” May said.
Classes were once offered at Grady in order to get students hands-on experience with mechanical drawing. Those classes have been discontinued in 1973, but a new club has been created to fill the void.
The Mechanics Club, founded by junior Alek Bruckman, has picked up the mission to educate many Grady students about how to deal with automobile repairs through hands-on practice.
“I’m really passionate about cars,” Bruckman said. “I like working on them and figuring them out, and I feel like the knowledge is dying.”
Bruckman recognizes the financial toll that the lack of automotive knowledge has on students.
“A lot of stuff that people have to do every day for their cars is really basic,” Bruckman said. “And they get charged a lot of money from the dealership to do it.”
Bruckman has created a mission for the Mechanics Club to address this area of weakness with students.
“The goal of Mechanics Club is to bring back this kind of knowledge of how engines work, so that people have a basic understanding of how to fix their brakes if their brake pads are bad, or change their oil and whatnot,” Bruckman said.
Due to its recent startup, the club has been struggling to acquire funding but has gained a lot of support from their teacher sponsor, AP Physics teacher Jillian Breen. Breen hopes to make her class a safe haven for the students participating.
“For me to be a sponsor of Mechanics Club is to give people a space and some sort of security and guidance in exploring what they want to learn for themselves,” Breen said.
She has also found that, due to the fact that it is largely student-run, she is there as a basis for support rather than a facilitator.
“I try to be as hands off as possible with this club because right now we do have some student leadership there that is really strong in terms of what they’re doing and how to do it well,” Breen said. “So right now, I mostly just want to let kids who want to come and learn something from each other, have a place to do that.”
Breen also hopes that the development of this club will allow for the resurrection of many vital classes at Grady.
“We are hoping to get enough interest to eventually kind of push to see whether we can bring some career tech back into Grady,” Breen said. “We have a lot of career tech in other fields, but less in the hands-on mechanics section.”
Among the students participating is sophomore Brody Dowling. Dowling is also a member of the robotics team and sees the validity in learning functions of technology in our everyday lives.
“I think this club is important because these are skills that everyone should have,” Dowling said.
Just in its earliest stages, Mechanics Club is striving to educate students about a piece of hardware that many of them have access to: cars. Keeping automobiles in pristine condition without having to pay enormous fees set by dealerships can be simple when owners are shown the proper way to fix them.
Although the club is still new, Dowling predicts that it will become a success and be appreciated by those who participate.
“I can see this club being successful in the future,” Dowling said. “Even after Alek is gone, people will want to continue it in order to learn more about engines and what they can do to fix them.”