- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

PLEASANTON, Neb. (AP) - The Pleasanton High School Skilled and Technical Sciences Program has advanced technologically over the years.

Teacher Randy Bauer said he has seen great advances since he began teaching at PHS 20 years ago.

He said the program started with a few slow IBM computers and a drafting program, Auto CAD, that the school had purchased for $2,000. Today, each student in the school has an iPad and they can create 2D and 3D designs with the Tinkercad app for $14 per download.

The Kearney Hub (https://bit.ly/22a8gNT ) reports that another major advancement in Bauer’s shop was the purchase of a rotary lift, which is a unique feature for a Class D school, according to Bauer.

He said when the new elementary school was built last year, he asked that he also receive an upgrade to help students who were into fixing cars. Bauer said the school received an educational discount for the lift, which was purchased for $4,500.

The lift is much safer than what was used previously in the shop.

“Before, we had jacks, and kids would get under the cars. It wasn’t as safe,” Bauer said.

With the lift, students are now able to stand safely under cars to change brakes and oil and to perform general maintenance.

PHS senior Morgan Zimmer has been taking Bauer’s shop classes since he was in junior high school. He said he and other students have changed the oil on about 20 student and teacher cars for free this year.

“It saves them money and gives us experience,” he said.

Bauer said the experience his students receive working on cars has been valuable for their futures. One such student, Junior Swearingen, went right into working at Big O Tires in Kearney after graduating from high school last spring.

“I would prefer kids go to school, but he learned some skills here,” Bauer said.

Many of Bauer’s students have also gone on to welding careers because of the experience they receive in his classes. Bauer said he requires his students to do eight basic welds on all the machines.

“If they never have the opportunity to try it in high school, they may not be welders,” Bauer said.

Zimmer plans to study welding at Southeast Community College in Lincoln. Bauer said Zimmer has done all the welds so he should be ready for college.

Another one of Bauer’s students, Madeline Paitz, plans to take what she has learned in shop class and apply it to her interior design studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln next fall.

Paitz said she hadn’t taken shop classes since it was part of her requirements in junior high, but when she visited university, she saw it had a shop.

“It kind of opened my eyes that I need to be working on my own projects,” she said.

One of Paitz’s projects was creating an interior design plan with Tinkercad on Bauer’s iPad. She said Bauer taught her about where rooms should be arranged within a design.

“You don’t want a garage next to a bedroom,” she said.

Paitz’s current project is building an entertainment center that she designed to fit in her mom’s living room.

Paitz and her classmates also built bookshelves for Town and Country Bank in Pleasanton this fall. The PHS Future Business Leaders of America organization donated the materials and the bank uses the bookshelves for a lending library, Bauer said.

The junior and senior skilled and technical science students worked collaboratively to build a shed this fall for Pleasanton residents Heidi and Jim Darby. Bauer said the Darbys paid for the materials, designed what they wanted and had the concrete slab poured before the students started construction.

“We made trusses and walls here and erected it there,” he said.

As part of the class, the students met at the job site to build the shed.

“I told the kids that’s part of being responsible - going to a job site,” he said.

Bauer said the students didn’t have time to side the building before the weather turned cold. Jim’s son, Clay, part of the class that built the shed, said his family would finish the siding and electrical.

Zimmer also was part of the class. He said what he learned on the job site was practical experience.

“I live on a farm, so I’m sure I’ll be putting buildings up in my life,” he said.

Bauer said he and guidance counselor Bob Bednar explore careers with the students and help them find what they like and don’t like. Bauer tells his students about the benefits of careers in skilled and technical sciences.

“Usually, eight of the top 10 jobs are in this area of work,” he said. “I tell the kids that there are jobs out there as long as they are willing to work.”

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Information from: Kearney Hub, https://www.kearneyhub.com/

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