I loved my shop class in high school. We learned how to do 3D modeling and then how to create what we rendered. Me, being such a big music nerd, ended up making an acoustic guitar! It wasn't the greatest guitar ever made, but it was still pretty impressive! I was really proud of myself for getting the body shape nearly the way that I wanted it.

In the summers, I worked at Gold's Gym Lagrange's Summer Camp. A few of the camps I helped to run were Clubhouse Making Camp, Race Car Camp, Drone Making Camp, Gadget Camp, and Science Camp. Each one of these camps were extremely hands on, and taught kids incredible labor and critical thinking skills. Between shop class and running these camps, I felt like I had plenty of hands-on experience that gave me, my peers, and my campers plenty of technical experience. I didn't realize, at the time, that I was one of the few lucky ones.

The Decline in Trade Skills in the US

From the 1990s to the early 2010s, students took fewer credits in shop class — or as it is now called, Career Tech Education — according to data from the National Center of Education Statistics. Instead, the priority turned toward securing students spots in four-year degree programs. Because of that priority, many schools defunded and outright got rid of the technical programs, so even when students wanted to take a shop class, they wouldn't even have the option.

FDR High School Classes Learn How to Build a Car

With the need for skilled trades increasing in recent years due to the lack of its prioritization in schools over the last few decades, more schools are looking to revitalize their Career Tech Education. My alma mater, FDR High School in Hyde Park, NY, who I always felt did a really good job promoting their shop and tech classes, is continuing to lead the way in innovation and education. Their students built a car from scratch!

FDR High School
FDR High School

FDR High School was a recipient of the Winners Circle Project, which incentivizes and inspires students to learn and practice STEAM-based learning. The students built a high-performance Factory Five vehicle within one academic school year. Factory Five Racing, Inc. is an American automobile company that designs and manufactures assembly kits, chassis, bodies and related components for replicars and sports cars. And of course, they painted it FDR's school color of green!

Douglas Egerton, one of the teachers behind the project at FDR, said,

Media class set up videos and photos to show the progress of the car and convey it to the public. The build class obviously was to do the actual building of the car itself. Our overall goal for the next year is to promote the project and build community interest and create a sponsor base to help the class through their insight, expertise, and financial support to help the project to flourish. Thank you so much for your interest and help with this goal.

The Winners Circle Project

The Winners Circle Project is a non-profit organization which has been meticulously designed to inspire young, innovative minds through a STEAM program embedded in the exciting world of car racing. Through our work the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math come alive for our students on, and beyond the race track! Through the course of one academic year, high school students will build a Factory Five vehicle from the ground up, learn how to promote their project through multiple channels in an integrated marketing campaign, and build a multi-department race team.

FDR High School
FDR High School

Throughout the course of one academic year, high school students will build a high-performance Factory Five vehicle from the ground up. Using a project-based curriculum created by WCP, the program is focused on more than simply the mechanics of the build but what it takes to develop an entire racing team - a business.


WCP students participate in activities and classes designed to introduce them to an array of fields including marketing, journalism, video production, and public relations - allowing the exploration of previously undiscovered areas of strength and opportunities for growth!

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