High school drag race prepares students for career in the trades
The sound of cars accelerating to close to 150 km/h and the smell of burning rubber filled the air Saturday as students prepared the cars they had been working on since last fall for one final test run before the annual Miramichi Dragway High School Challenge.
Ashley Simmie, a Grade 12 student at James M. Hill Memorial High School, said her school has been coming to the event for the past 40 years.
Last year, Simmie was the first female to represent her school behind the wheel. She enjoyed it so much she came back this year.
"It's a whole new feeling," said Simmie. "It's really fun and I just love it now."
Students are responsible for finding sponsors and working on the cars themselves. Simmie said there were many late nights spent under the hood in the past few months.
But working those extra hours doesn't guarantee there won't be last minute issues.
Grade 12 student Aidan Belliveau of Fredericton High School said his team had to leave a car back in Fredericton.
"The other car was supposed to be here, but it ran into some problems and couldn't get running," Belliveau said.
Belliveau said a teacher stayed in the garage until 3 a.m. trying to get the car running. Rather than leaving them a car short, the teacher gave his own truck for the students to use on race day.
In the hour before the races began, students from several schools were still bent over car engines making last-minute fixes.
The Bathurst High School team had to boost its car battery after every trial run. Bathurst High shop teacher Daniel Comfort said problem-solving is part of the learning experience.
"When you break down you can either fold in one direction or you can conquer through it," Comfort said. "That's what the kids are learning today."
Comfort said this event and the lead-up to it are opportunities to expose students to possible careers in the trades.
This is the case for Simmie, who will be graduating in a month and is excited to begin studying auto body repair next fall.