Alex Perkes poses for a portrait at the Technical Careers High School on May 25. (PHOTO: Taylor Carpenter)
Classrooms and textbooks never appealed to Alex Perkes. The Technical Careers High School senior prefers working with his hands.
Enrolled in his school’s auto body program, Perkes, 18, has had plenty of opportunities to show what he’s learned in skills competitions and employment at a nearby Iona Road shop.
A painter, Perkes enjoys seeing the tangible products of his labor.
“You see a wrecked car with a big impact on the door, then you see what it looks like after. Taking it from gray and ugly, then putting a nice coat of paint and some clear coat to make it look really nice,” he said. “I always take before and after pictures. It’s really satisfying to see what you’ve done.”
Perkes has been interested in cars since he was a child. He attended Bonneville High School as a freshmen, then spent the next three years at Technical Careers, where he’s now student body vice president.
The school features an auto body shop that mimics a commercial business: clients drop off cars and students write estimates, order parts, fix dents and paint.
The program immediately caught Perkes’ attention.
“A lot of us don’t retain anything from reading a book,” he said. “If I went to Bonneville I’d have like a 2.5 GPA; I’d show up and leave every day. Here I’m engaged and active in the school.”
Still, things didn’t always go well when Perkes began Technical Careers’ auto body program during his junior year.