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It’s not like the musical auto-shop in Grease.
“There’s not as much singing,” said Senior Sean O’Toole.
Yes, there is an absence of the shiny white suits in “Grease Lightening” and no impromptu dance numbers. But with four or five guys gathered around a car, doing fuel changes to Elvis music, it has the essence of the movie.
That’s how O’Toole spends his first and second hours of school, gathered with a group of boys as their teacher calls out instructions that seem incomprehensibly complex to the average onlooker in the grungy, dirty room 101. He and his team modify and equip various types of vehicles, from clunkers to race cars.
O’Toole got his start in auto-tech in his sophomore year, but remembers lining up and admiring his extensive collection of hot wheels as young as three-years-old.
“He’s very diligent, and is very knowledgeable about cars,” said auto-tech teacher Brian Gay. “Much to his surprise, the other students end up looking to him for help and somebody to go to who knows how to do the work. I don’t think he sees himself being in a leadership role, but [he] ends up kinda being one.”
There are usually about four people to a project, so there’s a sense of teamwork along with the satisfaction they get once they finish something big.
Right now, O’Toole and his team have been working on factory-made Porsches. They prepare the cars for races from scratch by changing tires and doing alignments. He and his team like to think of it as a better version of NASCAR. His most satisfying project so far has been working on a GT3, which is a newer model of a Porsche.
“I’ve learned the tips and tricks of working on a car,” O’Toole said. “Getting around and knowing what to do.”
O’Toole will most likely keep doing auto-shop in college, but has no idea whether he’ll pursue a career in it, such as a mechanic. He believes what he’s learned in the class is valuable enough to last him a very long time.
While there is definitely no “Grease Lightening,” O’Toole knows he’ll continue listening to their ‘50s hits playlist in the grungy, dirty room of 101.