About 90 people attended a grand opening and dedication for the Gary Sladek Legacy Haas Technical Education Center at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo on May 22, 2014. The school is home to the Coastline ROP Manufacturing Engineering Technology class.
Nineteen students are enrolled in the class, which teaches them to use the engineering program Mastercam and the school’s milling equipment to create their own designs. This semester, they’re learning engraving.Students created an aluminum plaque on the mill to honor Sladek, who died in August. His company, the Anaheim Haas Factory Outlet, donated the $160,000 Haas mill and lathe machines to Trabuco Hills High to transform the auto shop, which had been vacant three years, into a classroom.Trabuco Hills High School senior Austin Shorr focuses on the bowl he’s crafting in his after-school class. Shorr is at a computer using Mastercam, manufacturing software that gives instructions to the school’s milling equipment, enabling students to bring to life their own designs.
“It’s a great way into the whole engineering field,” said Shorr, who plans to pursue an engineering degree at Northern Arizona University next year. “Engineering has always been something I’m really great at, and it’s nice to have a class where I’m actually intrigued and want to invest in it.”
Trabuco Hills High School opened the Gary Sladek Legacy Haas Technical Education Center in February, less than a year after the school’s career specialist, Bridget Mondt, heard Sladek speak at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa about the need for manufacturing employees. Haas Factory Outlet, donated the $160,000 Haas mill and lathe machines to Trabuco Hills High to transform the auto shop, which had been vacant three years, into the Manufacturing Engineering Technology classroom.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Mondt said. “This isn’t something you would normally see at a high school.”
The class prepares students to transition into a career of manufacturing aerospace, medicine, automotive and motorcycle parts. Though the majority of students in the class are from Trabuco Hills High, others hail from Mission Viejo High and Laguna Hills High. These kids are hungry to learn and it’s nice they have this opportunity to learn a trade.
Senior Kyle Johnson, 18, hopes to own an automotive shop and possibly create his own auto parts using his manufacturing knowledge.
“If I wanted to create a new part, or something that hasn’t been done before, it could be done with this machine,” Johnson said. “You can create actual parts – surgical, mechanical – it’s pretty cool stuff.”
Right now, the 19 students in the after-school Manufacturing Engineering Technology course are using the mill to engrave flat pieces of plastic. One student has created a Superman logo; another made the House Stark emblem from the HBO show “Game of Thrones.”
A few students, including junior Julia Mihaylov, used the machines to create an aluminum plaque dedicating the center to Sladek, who died in August. About 90 people attended the grand opening and dedication for the center May 22.
Mihaylov said she hopes to be an aeronautical engineer, which she learned about after taking an honors physics class.
“(Manufacturing) is really great, especially if you go into engineering,” Mihaylov said. “It gives you a basis for any kind of engineering.”