Students who have a passion for cars sign up for Tony Migliorini's Vocational Automotive classes at Northview High School.
"They love to work on the classic cars," Migliorini said of his enthusiastic and highly dedicated class. "They come in with a love of cars, wanting to learn auto mechanics."
After an hour of instruction at the beginning of their three-hour class, Migliorini runs the rest of the class time like an actual automotive repair dealership.
"Many of the students become very capable in a short period of time, with most proficient in all areas of mechanics within two years," Migliorini said. "They are highly dedicated to learning because most of these students have plans for continuing their education in this field."
Productivity and ability to apply the skills Migliorini teaches is how a student acquires a grade in the class. Each Friday is a student's pay day, when their work determines their grade.
"I tell my students this is the only class where you buy your grade through the amount of work performed," Migliorini said.
The full service garage only works on cars supplied by students and their families or employees from within the school corporation. Repairs are billed with the labor done by the students for free and the cost for the parts being the car owner's responsibility. "We don't want to take business from local auto shops, so we don't work on cars from out-of-house."
The big project for the class this year was working on Bob Robinson's 1963 Nova.
"When we got the Nova it didn't run at all," Migliorini said. "They've done a terrific job repairing it. It's a great bunch of students, and it's really fun watching them move along and improve their skills."
Major repairs to the car included work on the engine, brakes, suspension and transmission, all performed by the students.
"It's not as simple as it looks. There's a lot to learn. Some of it can be difficult, but I've learned so much from this class," said senior James Vecchione, who plans to attend Lincoln Tech after his service in the military to study automotive technology. He worked mainly on the undercarriage of the car. "I just wanted to help make it run."
Derrick Smith, who plans to attend Lincoln Tech to study diesel mechanics this fall, worked on the engine assembly and the front end.
"This is a great learning experience," Smith said. "It's very satisfying to see the finished project."
Many students in the class also plan to go on to college for automotive technology, but there are a few who are not.
"We encourage students to continue their education, but this program is designed for the student that wants the enter to workforce straight out of high school for whatever reason they might have," Migliorini said of the real world experience students receive as part of the program. "We've got a real-good thing going here. This class teaches students that everything they are learning in school, from math to English to science, has real-life applications once they leave here, that the time they spend in class in high school is really valuable to their future."