The Wonder That Is The Career Center: Auto Tech


Endy Amaya ’15 works with a professional diagnostic machine during Auto Tech.


The Arlington Career Center offers amazing technical education classes that a lot of people don’t really take advantage of. One of the most well known courses at the career center is the automotive technical class, run by three astounding teachers: Samuel Little, Dave Winchell, and Mike McGee. This is the place where the rubber meets the road. Students take a projects based learning approach to their education.

Students attend the career center everyday. Along with their teachers, and some safety precautions, these adolescents go into a shop that is set up the same as a professional mechanic shop with professional grade tools. Typical sightings in autotech are (at least) four cars that most would believe are beyond repair. Some people take their cars to the career center to have work completed. They can be surprised with the results. They are in awe that the students are the skilled experts working on their cars.

The career center has three dedication Auto Tech teachers helping Wakefield students become experts.
The career center has three dedicated Auto Tech teachers helping Wakefield students become experts.

TV Production teacher, Tom O’Day, is just one of the many APS staff members to benefit from the auto tech class projects. He jokes, as he picks up his fully repaired vehicle, “I need to be nice to you guys. You really helped me out with my headlights.” Visitors to the career center have commented that it is nice to see so many devoted students work hard on what they enjoy; not many people experience that luxury. There are some drawbacks to the Auto Tech classroom. The heavy machinery can be deafening at times. All the different vehicle models can seem so complex for a beginner.  The odor of oil permeates through the shop, and is difficult to get used to, at first.  These drawbacks tend to become the very things that experienced auto tech students love. The shop has a rough feel to it with grease stained concrete and laminated, primary colored, car repair posters. It takes a special kind of person to embrace these surroundings. That is what makes the career center so unique. There is nothing like the feeling of starting a car that was previously pronounced dead on arrival. The pride of accomplishing this is hard to describe to someone that has never fixed a car. Dale Winchell tried to explain, “when I fix a car, I feel a triumphant surge of energy as I get it running smoothly again, while still being able to  help people.” These words come from a respected teacher with years of experience. Auto Tech students listen to him when he talks. They see that he has a passion for his work. The career center is his home. This wonderful place can help students find their passion; there is a class that fits each and every Wakefield students’ interest. Get on the bus.