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Living the dream - teaching kids about Studes

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  • Living the dream - teaching kids about Studes

    Hey guys! Long time no see!

    I shared this on one of the Facebook Studebaker posts a few days ago, but since I know there are a number of folks here who don't venture into those waters, I thought I'd finally come out of "lurk mode" and let y'all know what I've been up to.

    In August I stepped into a role that is as exciting as it is terrifying, and I stepped into the role of shop teacher at Boys Town High School. I have for several years worked at Boys Town in other capacities; it's a great organization that really helps kids and families. Right now we have about 400 kids here who live on the campus and attend our high school.

    Anyway, the school has been really pushing hard to bring back skilled trade education for a number of years. After a few setbacks and a couple staff who left, I found myself in the position to take the reigns, and have inherited all of our skilled trades department. I teach three main areas right now: welding, small engines, and construction.

    Here's the cool stuff though, and where the Stude content comes in. I've been gently dropping hints that I want to get automotive online sooner rather than later, and people are listening. So I have taken the liberty of doing an experimental pilot program within my small engines program this semester, and we're studying a couple large engines, namely these guys:

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    As of right now, my small engines class have a '62 Hawk GT that belongs to a friend of mine, and a '63 Lark (mine) to work on. They absolutely LOVE the cars, and the experiment is going really well. We're already having conversations about doing a full blown auto program next year as a result, and because I happen to be the guy at the helm, if I can find more Studebakers to work on and the parts, I really want to make Studebaker a big part of my auto program.

    It's exciting stuff, and it's very cool to see a bunch of 16-18 year olds who think these cars are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They are actually upset on the days when we have to do classwork and can't work on them. A couple of them have remarked that they want to get Studebakers after they graduate.

    Keep lookin' up guys. Kids love these cars, and if I have anything to say about it, the next generation will have as many Studebaker nuts as our generations have
    '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

    "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

  • #2
    'Way cool, Jim; good work. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    • #3
      More Studebaker-owners for teachers!!!
      sigpic

      Josephine
      -55
      Champion V8
      4d sedan

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      • #4
        WOW!! You mean Father Flannagan, Whitey, and Pee Wee (Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, and Bobs Watson) Boys Town??? COOL!! I can't understand why there are people in education who are against skilled labour? What is it about this generation of educators? Somebody has to have the skills to fix stuff! Not to mention things like the arts. My brother was an artist with wood and a genius with electronics. I was good with ceramics, jewelry, and cooking. As I understand it, none of these things are available to the High School Students anymore. They still have sports, but none of the arts, industrial or otherwise. Such a shame.
        Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
        K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
        Ron Smith
        Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

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        • #5
          Very good news! I as a high school student (many, many years ago) looked forward to our shop classes. We had a wood shop and a metal shop, I took both classes. We never had a auto shop as our high school was rather small.
          Sadly when things got tight and the instuctors retired, the shop classes were discontinued. Also home economics was cut as well. Then we had generations of students who couldn't fix, make, or cook anything or budget a household.
          Glad to hear your helping bring this back.
          sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

          "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
          Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
          "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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          • #6
            The one teacher I remember the as the one I probably learned the most from was Industrial arts , His name is Art Stober at HPHS , Good Luck and enjoy , Ed

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            • #7
              Originally posted by studeclunker View Post
              WOW!! You mean Father Flannagan, Whitey, and Pee Wee (Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, and Bobs Watson) Boys Town??? COOL!! I can't understand why there are people in education who are against skilled labour? What is it about this generation of educators? Somebody has to have the skills to fix stuff! Not to mention things like the arts. My brother was an artist with wood and a genius with electronics. I was good with ceramics, jewelry, and cooking. As I understand it, none of these things are available to the High School Students anymore. They still have sports, but none of the arts, industrial or otherwise. Such a shame.
              Yup, we're the original. Spencer Tracy's Oscar is on display in our museum about 400 yards from where I'm sitting now. The organization has grown quite a bit since the film, but it still does wonders for hurting kids and families.

              A lot of schools got sucked into the glitz and glam of the whole college prep movement in the 80's and 90's, and the truth is that canning trade classes saved schools a lot of money. I mean, last week in one single day I went through several hundred dollars of material. Obviously, not every day is that expensive, but I do spend consumable material resources nearly daily, and when you have 190 days in a school year, the cost adds up. I'm very grateful that I am at a school that woke up and "gets it" though, and is committed to bringing back skilled trade education. In the next few years, we're going to bring in an industrial technology class, drafting, and even baking. And of course, I'm pushing to get a full blown auto program going next year. It's a very costly prospect, but I'm hopeful I can find a way to make it happen. My dream is to make the auto program Studebaker-centric. We'll have to see how it pans out, but I think there are enough classes out there that teach kids on a small block chevy that we can afford to be a little different (though to be fair, a SBC or two will probably be in the mix if we get the program running. I have to have a few motors with parts that you can pick up at any WalMart )
              '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

              "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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              • #8
                Great job, Jim. As far a Studebaker-centric, you might want to consider Studebaker-starting point instead. If the kids will end up working on modern cars/trucks, they'll eventually need to learn about fuel injection, OBD II, and complex trouble shooting. The relative simplicity of an older Studebaker will be a great launching point for the kids to see how the engineering has changed over the years (and what hasn't changed).
                Mark L

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                • #9
                  Good to see you back Jim. How old is your young son now? He could pick out Studebaker models when he was very little.

                  Denny L

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                  • #10
                    Nice to hear that you are having fun teaching too. I'm teaching a pre-apprenticeship electrical program to grade's 10-12. Wood shop, and automotive, rebuilding a 64 Daytona convertible for a local Studebaker owner. Last semester I brought in my 64 GT to lots of fanfare. We changed out my 4.27:1 rear axle to a more modest 3.56:1 ratio. There is no better feeling to a teacher than having their tech classrooms full of engaged kids. My small engine class that I taught last semester, got a bunch of grade 10 students working on our school go-cart program during the noon hour lunch. We built a Go-cart frames in welding class, modified Honda engines,... pulling every bit of horsepower out of them, like cutting every other fan fin, removing the governor, switching heads, installing a hotter cam, springs, tapping the block for a pressure fuel pump etc. Small engines are really cool things to these kids. They are working now on the disk brake system to get the cart to stop faster. They are rebuilding/plumbing all new brake lines. Keep having fun Jim.

                    Allen
                    1964 GT Hawk
                    PSMCDR 2014
                    Best time: 14.473 sec. 96.57 MPH quarter mile
                    PSMCDR 2013
                    Best time: 14.654 sec. 94.53 MPH quarter

                    Victoria, Canada

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                    • #11
                      This is one of the best threads if read in a long time! It made me sick when my High School closed all of its vocational arts programs. Tons of equipment was scrapped…. awesome lathes mills tools etc. lots of WW2 surplus ,stuff that can't be replaced. Slowly the people who made these short sighted decisions are beginning to understand that every child is not going to be a computer whizz or a white collar exec…IT STILL TAKES SKILLED CRAFTS PEOPLE TO MAKE THIS WORLD GO ROUND.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by studeclunker View Post
                        Not to mention things like the arts. My brother was an artist with wood and a genius with electronics. I was good with ceramics, jewelry, and cooking. As I understand it, none of these things are available to the High School Students anymore. They still have sports, but none of the arts, industrial or otherwise.
                        There ARE dedicated schools like that which still exist: http://victoria-school.ca/

                        Craig

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                        • #13
                          JimC: Thank you for bringing us up to date on the happenings in your career. Years ago I worked in a school system and watched the HS Industrial Arts Dept. disappear. Excellent instructors were caused to adjust to new responsibilities and students lost an opportunity to learn and explore possible interests. It was sad, but a trend in secondary education. Best wishes on developing needed educational choices for your students.
                          "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional." author unknown

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Green53 View Post
                            Good to see you back Jim. How old is your young son now? He could pick out Studebaker models when he was very little.

                            Denny L
                            Hey Denny! He's 7 and change now, and he still loves his Studebakers. In fact he was the one who noticed that my membership lapsed a little while ago because the Studebaker magazine never showed up. (I corrected that problem post haste! ) I'm hoping that life will settle down enough that I can drag him out to a few more local events this year. Gotta keep the young ones interested in the cars!
                            '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

                            "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mark L View Post
                              Great job, Jim. As far a Studebaker-centric, you might want to consider Studebaker-starting point instead. If the kids will end up working on modern cars/trucks, they'll eventually need to learn about fuel injection, OBD II, and complex trouble shooting. The relative simplicity of an older Studebaker will be a great launching point for the kids to see how the engineering has changed over the years (and what hasn't changed).
                              That's more or less my thought on this as well. The big thing is that most of these kids don't even comprehend the basics yet. An oil change is outside their stratosphere. The thing I love about Studebakers is that they have all the mechanical parts as a modern car, but they don't have a lot of the modern "clutter" that could distract them. I've got to drill in the very basic stuff, and I think Studebakers are the perfect car to do that on.

                              And for the record, I know there's at least one supplier of fuel injection conversion kits for Studebakers, and I'm sure once that's in, adding enough sensors for an OBD computer wouldn't be all that hard. Maybe this CAN stay all-Studebaker
                              '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

                              "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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