Three times a month Mr. Bowers, the agriculture education teacher, opens up the welding shop for a work night. The group is called Ag Mechanics, and it has attracted a following from the agriculture and industrial technology departments.
“Ag Mechanics was started because a few years ago I was constantly having kids stop by and asking to use the shop for projects of theirs. Eventually it got to the point where I wanted something a little more structured and more organized,” said Bowers.
Individuals are allowed to bring in projects to work on with the welders, plasma cutters, and all of the other tools available to them. The only rule is that the projects have to leave when the night is over. No project can stay overnight because it may interfere with classes. People have brought in a variety of projects, ranging from items for their vehicles, to broken machines, and even original creations.
“I wanted to hand-build a mini bike with my friend Luke, and in order to do this we needed a shop to work. We learned that we could get free material by coming to Ag Mech. So slowly that became our home base for the project,” said sophomore Teejay Brackin.
Some individuals go just to hang out and relax too.
“I come to Ag Mech because it gives me something to do after school. I like to bring projects in and work, and also it is fun to hang out. All of my friends show up, and it is great to catch up,” said sophomore Hunter Tooley.
Individuals from the community who work as repairmen or service hands come in to help students with their projects. Jarren Steenhoek was one of those individuals.
“I enjoy coming to these events because I love mechanics. I love to stay in touch with the young people, and if I can pass on my knowledge to someone else, then that is enough for me,” said Steenhoek.
The community is also involved as members of the school administration and also school groups have brought in projects to have the students repair, work on, and even build. Some of these groups include the band department, which requested carts for speakers, Rick Schulte and John Seddon brought in items to be fixed. Wade Van Vark asked for a pull-up rack to be made, and the special education department asked this group to build bowling ramps.
Some of the students are assigned to do the above tasks to accomplish, thus making it their responsibility to accomplish and or fix.
“I am in charge of constructing a 3-D horse head made out of horseshoes for Tabatha Langstraat along with (junior) Jordan DeArmond,” said senior Seth Bennink. “I am involved with more of the physical construction of the item, and she works more with the ideas.”
The evening is only open to those involved in agriculture classes. Often times Bowers will see a group of around 10 to 15 students whenever the work night is open.
“It tends to fluctuate throughout the months. Fall, you only see about 8 people, in the winter and spring months is when you really start to get 15 and even 18 kids showing up to work on projects, which is phenomenal to see,” said Bowers.
The next Ag Mechanics event is on December 20th from 4-8pm in the welding shop.
•Chandler Jahner, email@example.com