BMS students draw inspiration from visits to Toyota, BCTC

BMS students draw inspiration from visits to Toyota, BCTC

Bondurant Middle School students got a close look on Thursday at what it takes to work in a modern manufacturing plant.

Seventh and eighth graders interested in engineering or science careers received tours of Toyota’s Georgetown factory and the nearby Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus, which specializes in advanced manufacturing.

“We wanted them to kind of see the opportunities for different careers in manufacturing and engineering,” said Bondurant STEM teacher James Gary, who gives trimester-long courses in web coding, computer-aided design and robotics. “We wanted them to see opportunities for different ways to get into those careers and open their eyes up to opportunities with just two-year degrees, where they make really good money with a smaller investment.”

The struggle of translating interests in school into successful careers is something Gary knows firsthand. Growing up in Ohio, Gary loved to draw. After high school, he found work painting signs and motorcycles. He didn’t discover his love for engineering until his father convinced him to take a course in drafting. He would go on to spend nearly 20 years in manufacturing.

Eighth grader Racheal Ruble, the daughter of Bryan and Ashley Ruble, also likes to draw, but she says she enjoys science and technology classes “since you get to be creative and see how things work.” The tour of Toyota, with its self-guided robots and just-in-time manufacturing processes, helped reinforce her interest in the field.

“I liked seeing how they had everything ready and lined up and even if they changed the colors of the car — like, it would be silver and then maybe a light blue — they would have everything precise for where the doors go and what colors are next,” said Ruble.

Seventh grader Emma Weber, the daughter of Rob and Anya Weber, agreed.

“It surprised me that they could make a car red or they could make a car gray and they wouldn’t get the paints confused,” she said. “It was just cool how quickly they could do it and change colors and stuff.”

While Weber said she’s more interested in earth science — “I like knowing why things happen more specifically in nature” — she noted that some of the student-tour guides at BCTC had employers that were paying for them to attend school.

Likewise, eighth grader Jacob Fields, son of Mark and Melissa Fields, aspires to be a mechanical or aerospace engineer like his cousin, but knows he enjoys working with his hands. He took note of BCTC’s welding classes.

Seventh grader Joshua Welch, son of James and Tiffany Welch, was even more enthusiastic about BCTC.

“I want to go there now,” said Welch, who is exploring future career paths in both engineering and medicine.

Eighth grader Aurora Clayton, daughter of Derrick and Ruth Clayton, credited their teacher Gary with giving them the courage to explore new fields and instilling them with a motto: “Failing is just a step toward success.”

Read full article by Alfred Miller at The State Journal

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