Getting his hands dirty paid off for Oxford High School senior Josh Schoenherr.
He recently walked away with two awards during the Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society’s (MITES) Automotive Advanced Service Technology competition at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills campus.
Schoenherr placed second in the steering and suspension category and third in brakes. There were a total of eight categories that tested students’ knowledge and skills.
Going into the competition, Schoenherr said he felt “a little nervous” because MITES competitors represent “the best of the best from the whole state.”
He considered it “an honor” just to be “one of those people.” Winning two awards was icing on the cake.
“I expected to (come) close,” Schoenherr said. “You never want to walk in thinking you’re going to win because that’s a little too over-the-top.”
Schoenherr is a big fan of teacher Dan Balsley’s automotive technology program at OHS.
“It’s taught me skills that actually mean something in the real world . . . Automotive stuff, you’ll use that for the rest of your life. Cars are not going away,” he said.
Even if a person is not interested in working in the automotive field, Schoenherr said the program teaches them valuable skills such as how to change oil and service brakes, things “anybody can do in the driveway.”
The four years he spent under the tutelage of Balsley taught him the importance of workmanship.
“When we’re out in the lab, you’ve got to get that job done quickly, but you’ve also got to get it done properly,” he said.
Schoenherr still has one year to go in the five-year Oxford Schools Early College program. He attends Macomb Community College as part of it.
He plans to pursue some type of career in the automotive world, but he’s “not exactly sure” what. It could be anything from technician to engineer.
When he’s not busy with school work, Schoenherr is employed at a small family farm in Romeo.
“I’m using my auto skills to keep tractors running,” he said.