OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Students at Ralston High School interested in working in the automotive industry have a unique option during their upper-secondary years.
Started two years ago, the Automotive Academy at Ralston throws students in to the garage while in school. During year one of the two-year program students take auto classes at the school. During the final semester of the second year, students spend two days a week at an internship at a area auto group.
"Very awesome, I got to learn more about cars and how they work," said Nick Krajeski, a senior a Ralston who was part of the first senior class to complete the internship portion. Krajeski interned this semester for the Woodhouse Auto Group at their Porsche dealership.
A perk to the program is students learn in both the internship and in the classroom. The internship runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the students are in class the other three days of the week. The internships were during the last period so students could stay later at their internship.
"They get to work twice a week and are in the classroom three days a week for direct instruction from their teacher," said Tiffanie Welte, director of secondary education for the Ralston School District. "They have the opportunity to apply that learning right away for twice a week."
"Hand's on learning is the epitome of what we do," said Andrew Berthold, a technical sciences instructor at Ralston High School. "They have to learn hands-on or they won't be able to succeed."
Learning from books is important but the educators believe there are some things that students learn better in the field.
"I learned a lot more than I would have in books and in classrooms," Krajeski said.
"They always tell me they've learned more in two hours at the shop than they did at a week of school," Berthold said.
Following graduation, Krajeski is going to work full-time at Woodhouse Auto while also studying for a degree at Metropolitan Community College.
"It's going to feel good knowing that I get to come in here every day knowing that I get to work open to close on cars all day long," Krajeski said.
There were five seniors who took part in the internship this year. The district is expecting that number to grow in the upcomng years.