From La Crosse Tribune
LA CROSSE, WIS — Gustave Sexauer won’t be old enough to take his driver’s license test for a few more years, but he already owns a truck and has been working on it with his father.
“We just finished the bed a week ago,” the 12-year-old said of his 1963 Chevy pick-up. “My uncle had (the truck) sitting in his yard and he wasn’t going to do anything with it.”
Sexauer got to work with college automotive instructors during the 2004 Tech Camp held recently at Western Wisconsin Technology College (WWTC) in La Crosse, Wis. Students took turns helping to change oil, inflate tires and solder. Sexauer, who will be a seventh-grader this fall, had one reason for attending the event.
“I want to be a mechanic when I grow up,” he said.
Paula O’Malley, Tech Camp coordinator, said 85 students from Wisonsin-area school districts attended 11 different camp sessions that looked at everything from respiratory therapy to Web page design.
“The goal of the camp is to allow middle school students to be exposed to careers and technical education programs,” O’Malley said. “The object is also to recruit future students.”
This is the third time Tech Camp has been offered, although it wasn’t held last year because funds weren’t available. Brenda Scheurer, technical preparation curriculum specialist at WWTC, said the camp’s future remains in jeopardy because it is funded by Carl Perkins grants and President Bush has proposed reducing those grants by 25 percent.
“This would go away if that happens,” Scheurer said.
Matthew Bornheimer, a 13-year-old who will be in eighth grade, was among the students who helped change the oil on a 1999 Ford Taurus, which instructor Michael Foster was using for his automotive demonstration.
“Put your safety glasses on first so you don’t get oil in your eyes,” Foster told Bornheimer as the teen went to empty the oil pan. After the oil was drained, Bornheimer switched gears and measured the air pressure in one of the tires on the car. He soon became the subject of yet another Tech Camp student’s experience, as Jenny Harris, who will be in ninth grade, started taking his picture.
Harris and some of the other students from the digital camera class wandered into the automotive area to practice their photography skills. Harris said she was enjoying Tech Camp, and enrolled in it because she wants to be part of her school’s yearbook staff this fall.
“It (the camp) gives you an idea what you want to do,” she said.
Copyright 2004 La Crosse Tribune. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved .
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