Those outside the loop may think of rural communities as a dead end, especially when it comes to raising their kids. The thought of raising them in clean air and crime free neighborhoods is romantic but the reality is that most folks who grew up in cities think that there is nothing to do in a small town, especially as a kid. I think a good portion of my readers would agree that is anything but the truth, especially when it comes to our high school education.
The opportunities available to Petaluma High School Students (and at Casa) would surprise most outsiders. Although both are well respected for their academics, and turn out top rated students and athletes, that go on to attend top schools around the country, there is a hidden benefit that our local schools offer. I am talking about viable electives that are often the foundation a student needs in order to go on and participate in a lucrative and fulfilling career.
I am referring to “shop” classes, although they haven’t been called that for years. When I attended PHS I could chose from classes in the Agriculture Program, the Wood Working Program, and the Auto Shop program. Students could learn everything from welding, to carpentry, to auto mechanics. Mixed in were drafting and architecture classes (including Auto-CAD), horticulture classes, and metal fabrication classes. And if you think these are just some sort of lazy, after-thought elective classes, think again. These are classes that have lead PHS to numerous state, national, and world-wide championships in the various discipline’s competitions.
Petaluma High School could really use your vote, in order to upgrade their Auto Tech equipment. With government funding dwindling, it is important to take every opportunity to cash in on private scholarship opportunities. Follow this link, “Click to Vote” for Petaluma, enter your email address, and then log into your email to confirm your vote. It is just that simple. (I have received no spam from them.) And before you get discouraged that we are not the number vote getter (yet), every vote counts AND they are giving away scholarships to the top three vote getters. Just since yesterday, Petaluma has gained 50 votes. With just a minute of your time you can help PHS’s Auto Tech program get some badly needed funding. http://utigarage.com/class-scholarship
If you doubt the viability of your kids taking these classes as a shot at future jobs, think again. How much was your last auto mechanic’s bill? What did you have to shell out the last time a carpenter came out to your house to fix a leaky roof, leaky faucet, or repaint your house? How about the fruits, veggies, meat, and dairy you buy? The trades have always, and will always be, a viable (and lucrative) means to making a living. We aren’t going to stop driving cars, buying houses, or eating anytime soon and it takes a higher degree of skill and education to supply those services than it used to. In fact, the first guy I knew to buy his own home had gone through PHS’s Metal Tech program and went on to be a sheet metal worker. While I was still in college piling on student he was living the good life, and buying a house for his family.
Personally, I started working construction with my dad when I was young, so I opted out of the carpentry and wood shop classes in high school. Ask my friends and family how valuable it is that I know how to change a water heater, replace a light switch, or build a deck. But when it comes to cars, I got my start in Auto Technology I, taught by Mr. Brunton, who appears to still be teaching today. That class has been invaluable over the years, saving me thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, which I am able to take care of myself. It didn’t lead me to a career in auto repair, but for many it does, and quite frankly, most of those guys make more money than I do and get to do something they love every day.
Please help out these programs by participating in scholarships, like this one, whenever you can. Our elitist society tends to look down upon those that work with their hands but we in Petaluma know better. There is something admirable about those that have the knowledge and the drive to build and keep America running. You can have all the computers in the world but without hardworking people, using their brains and their hands, every facet of our daily lives would come to a screeching halt.