Bill McGuire’s auto shop class at Kodiak High School is a popular one.
McGuire is teaching four auto shop classes and two small engines classes this year, and he has close to 100 students in just the auto shop classes alone.
McGuire has a background in teaching and working in the oil field. He spent last year working on the North Slope, and prior to that he taught in Montana for four years in the industrial arts, teaching auto shop and drafting.
Bill McGuire recently sat down with the Daily Mirror to discuss the auto shop class offered at Kodiak High School this year.
Q: How many years have you taught auto shop?
A: Four years.
Q: What interested you in teaching that subject?
A: I think that the life skills that they learn with all the CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs are extremely beneficial. Even if they don’t go into the field the skills that they learn they can use throughout their career.
Q: Is auto shop a new class at the high school?
A: They had it two years ago, but didn’t have it last year because the previous teacher retired. There’s close to 100 students in auto shop. I teach freshmen through seniors.
Q: With that many students, do you have enough for them to work on?
A: It’s a little bit much for the equipment we have, but it’s hard to turn them away. We do a lot of rotations. They’ll do a book assignment, some will work on an engine or change oil. We have enough that everyone can get their hands dirty.
I’d definitely like to thank Nick’s Auto Wrecking Salvage for donating motors, and Kodiak Ford and Midtown Auto Repair for engines. The support from the school district and the auto part of the community has been fantastic. For any program, support is a must.
Q: What are some of the major projects you’ll have your students work on this year?
A: In the past they had brought in older vehicles and restored them. We’re kind of going in a different direction with that. We’re going more toward the certification model, aligning with ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) and NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) standards. When you have students coming out with certifications, they already have the skills. That’s the direction we want to go.
Q: What are your students working on right now?
A: Now we’re starting our maintenance phase with oil changes.
Q: What vehicles do you use for those?
A: Personal vehicles, and we’ve had a couple of vehicles donated.
We’re going to do a little fundraising for SkillsUSA. We’re trying to get some students involved in the SkillsUSA conference in Anchorage in the spring. We’ll do some oil change fundraisers.
Q: What is your goal as a teacher of auto shop?
A: That the students after they come out of their third year of auto, they’ll have those certifications. They’ll have a different skill set that makes them employable because those are the kids that are going to want to work in the auto industry.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.