December 6, 2021
Two years ago, North High School senior Kaden Gorges took on a formidable challenge: the restoration of his 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. He’s had to resolve countless problems that come up when working on an older vehicle, including wiring issues and replacing old parts, not to mention getting the car running in the first place.
“That required a lot of time and patience,” Kaden said.
Now, thanks to the Red Raider Manufacturing program, Kaden’s restoration project has relocated to the classroom.
“I’ve been able to work on the car during my automotive classes,” Kaden explained. “Since the car has been in the shop at North High School, I’ve replaced all the front suspension components that were old and brittle.”
In addition to Automotive Tech and Advanced Automotive Tech courses, Kaden has also taken Power Mechanics, Advanced Power Mechanics, and Machining and Fabrication through the Tech Ed department and Red Raider Manufacturing. He has enjoyed the hands-on learning made possible by the program and being able to use tools and equipment he would otherwise not have access to.
Kaden also took advantage of the opportunity to participate in a nine-week Youth Co-Op at Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat of Plymouth, where he was able to experience working in a dealership’s shop. The Sheboygan Area School District, in partnership with Inspire WI, offers students aged 16+ the opportunity to apply for hands-on work experience in manufacturing, skilled trades, maintenance, automotive, hospitality, healthcare, and business. During the nine-week training period, students gain an introductory understanding of local industry while working under the direct supervision of mentors and earning both an hourly wage and academic credit.
“Red Raider Manufacturing has been a great learning experience and it’s been fun for me to participate in the program,” said Kaden.
In addition to the Mustang restoration project, Kaden is active in concert orchestra. He primarily plays the cello but also plays bass, and has made several of the basses that he owns. Kaden plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College after high school to pursue a career in the aviation field.
Red Raider Manufacturing provides classroom instruction and hands-on, authentic learning opportunities with high-tech manufacturing and engineering tools at the state-of-the-art Kohler | Johnsonville Advanced Technology Labs at North High School and South High School.