The resurrection of a broken piece of equipment… EHS CTE and STEM classes bring old golf cart back to reuseable product

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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There is nothing more rewarding to students than to use the knowledge they learn in a classroom and transpose that into something that at some point they can realize that the knowledge they acquired in their respective classes is well worth the investment and time they put into it.

Elizabethton High School faculty and administration have always encouraged their students to dive deeper into projects to show exactly what they are capable of and that education in CTE and STEM is a great endeavor to be involved in.

Several students saw that first hand recently when they took something that at first glance looked unusable but made it into something that caused them to beam with pride from ear to ear. Involved in the project were CTE students in Maintenance and Light Repair STEM Engineering.

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“On a campus our size, we have a couple of vehicles — a Gator and a golf cart that Coach Hardin has had for several years. He has had a bit of trouble with it lately and over the summer he talked to Coach (Forrest) Holt and me about it and had hopes of getting it back up and running,” said Dr. Jon Minton, Principal of Elizabethton High School.

“We thought it would be a good project for our Maintenance and Light Repair kids at the beginning of the year to just try to identify what was wrong with the cart, and use a little bit of grant money as seed money for a project and that is where it started.

“It kind of grew from not let’s just fix this thing and get it running, but let’s brand it with our school colors and fix it up really nice to where it could serve as a transportation vehicle in some cases or to be able to move things around campus to serve whatever needs we had. Essentially it kind of spawned that way and then we turned it over to the kids.”

Minton said he felt it was a good learning experience for the students. The seed money for the project came from the XQ grant from which materials and supplies were purchased and the two classes came together to work on the project.

“I am really proud of the kids,” said Minton. “In 10 days they took a stock item that wasn’t running and they turned it into something that is really nice.

“They have generated vinyl decals, stickers, paint, and installation of all the hardware — I can just tell they have taken a ton of pride in it, and that’s how you learn. That is what CTE is all about, really. That is what project based learning is about and where the rubber meets the road. The kids see something that I am doing is creating a product.”

The students put a lift kit on the vehicle, made all the necessary repairs, put new tires on it, and painted and decaled the golf cart.

Some of the work was tough, but the students were up to the task.

“It was a lot of work,” said second year CTE student Jesse Richardson. “We put a lift kit on it — the front was easy and the back was hard. I am most proud of seeing it almost finished. It used to look like a rust bucket and now it looks almost brand new.

“This is the first major project for me in this class. We spent three weeks working on it — the back lift kit was hardest because we had to keep taking the motor off and reinstalling it. We had to keep flipping stuff, and it took a lot of patience.”

Richardson said he planned on doing auto mechanics after graduation, focusing on heating and air or possibly even becoming a diesel mechanic.

With the golf cart being electric, Richardson said it was an added benefit with so many electric cars on the market. “It gives an idea of what it would be like to work on something like that,” he said.

Another student added that after getting past the lift kit, it was basically just the A, B, and C’s in getting the rest of the project completed.

“We started out basically from the ground — we just had the base model of it,” said Conner Blevins. “At first it wouldn’t run and then we got the lift kit and put the lift on. The back had the stabilizer on it and we had to take it off and grind the welds down on it which was one of the hardest parts.

“Then after that it was pretty much step by step following directions like getting the batteries in, painting it, etc. It has provided us with a lot of accomplishment and has built our pride a lot more than what you would think. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.

“I am very proud of the way it turned out. It was supposed to be done last Friday, but the football game got canceled which gave us more time to get it done. We were excited about that. We have a few more decals plus we are going to add racing decals to the top and bottom of it,” Blevins said.

Jacob Carpenter said the opportunity presented to the students was one that he never imagined that he would have when he first came to Elizabethton High School.

“It feels good to get it fixed,” Carpenter said. “It looks a lot better than when we first started working on it. We put a lot of effort into it. I never thought I would have the opportunity to do something like this.

“Most schools don’t offer this type of class and it’s amazing that we have what we have and the teachers that put time into it.”

Carpenter added that his goal was to attend TCAT and gain a degree in Diesel Mechanics.