Tomorrow’s Technician and B’laster are searching for automotive technology instructors who think outside of the toolbox with the first-ever “B’laster Instructor of the Year” program. Each month, we shared an automotive instructor’s story who is in the running to be named the B’laster Instructor of the Year winner in May 2019. For more information about the B’laster Instructor of the Year program, visit TomorrowsTechnician.com/instructor-of-the-year.
Our seventh and final finalist shares how being an automotive instructor allows him to support his students to accomplish huge goals, be it hot rod makeovers or automotive competitions.
Anthony Migliorini grew up near Lake Michigan and started his career in at a marina working as a boat technician, a job he acquired through the reference of his high school auto shop teacher. Moving to southern Indiana to attend college he worked in the auto-motive industry while attending school. He has been teaching at Clay Community Schools for 22 years and is the Automotive Services Technology Teacher at Northview High School. He is also the department head of the Vocational Education Department. Migliorini is ASE Master Certified and holds a Bachelor’s in Technology Education/Vocational T I Teaching and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Indiana State University.
Words by Anthony Migliorini.
My passion for career and technology education started at an early age. As a kid I would visit my father’s industrial arts shop on the weekends as he prepared for the upcoming week. I was always intrigued watching him prepare materials and service machines, and I had the opportunity to design and build some of my own projects.
It was not uncommon for me to be with my father and be stopped by someone that recognized him. Most of the time it was a conversation to thank him for what that person had learned in his class while in high school.
I have now been at Northview High School long enough that I am experiencing those conversations that my dad had with his former students. Many of my former students are now married, have children, and are supporting their families through working in the automotive industry. It is a very rewarding career.
The automotive class at Northview High School is a three-hour class that explores the various systems of the automobile. A typical Monday through Thursday consists of one hour in the classroom discussing theory or being in the shop observing demonstrations on how to properly diagnose and repair vehicles.
The following two hours of our class is set up like an automotive repair facility. I take the role of a service manager and the students become technicians. Customer cars are dropped off daily and it is the students’ responsibility to diagnose and repair the problem in a timely manner. The live work gives the students proper training to be successful upon graduation. I teach in a manner in which we are all involved. I do assign the work and I expect the students to complete the task. However, I enjoy working with them. We work together. In this manner, students learn to ask good questions, manage their time, persist through challenges, and meet deadlines.
Friday’s are our exception for the week. We do not take any customer appointments on Fridays because our Friday’s are deemed “Hot Rod Friday.” On this day, students are divided into teams to work on special projects. Each year we build some type of hot rod. This vehicle may be one of my own, or supplied by a friend for the students to build. Hot Rod Friday was coined because our special projects kept getting put on the back burner as our daily customer cars consumed the entire week. I have always had a passion for hot rods and I wanted to share that passion with my students. In trying to accomplish this goal we have built many cars over the years.
This year is unique in that we have three vehicles being built on Fridays. The first is a 1973 Mustang owned by the superintendent of Clay Community Schools, Jeff Fritz. Mr. Fritz bought the car in 1877 as a teenager from a dealer in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was a one-owner vehicle with about 62,000 miles on it and came stock with a 351 Cleveland two barrel engine. This past year, he purchased a 351 Cleveland four barrel engine for the car and requested that the Northview High School auto shop class install the new engine. They will be doing some other work on the car as well. The students enjoy working on the Mustang, but I believe they have developed a sense of pride in the car knowing who owns it. They are proud that he trusts them with his car and they are passionate about completing the job.
The second project is a 1962 Chevy truck that I personally own. This truck is receiving a new front suspension and power disc brakes. A good supply of PB B’laster was necessary to remove the old torsion bar front end to make way for the new coil spring cross member. The powertrain has been upgraded with an LS engine from a 2004 Silverado. The original wiring harness was tattered, so the students removed every inch of wiring and installed a new harness. With so many different systems being worked on, this has been a challenge for the students. They have had to learn to plan ahead and work as team to ensure work can progress from week to week. If something doesn’t get done, or a part doesn’t get ordered, the project is at a standstill.
Our final Friday project is owned by a close friend. He has supplied us with a 1965 Cobra Replica. The students have been busy all year building the chassis, installing drivetrain and brakes, and installing the wiring harness. This car came to us as a fairly bare chassis. It started out as a pretty overwhelming project. At the beginning of the year we developed a game plan and have stayed on task with that plan. We just recently we able to start the engine for the first time. That is a huge reward for us and an incentive to keep moving forward.
The highlight of my career occurred last year. Each year we compete in an automotive skills competition at Ivy Tech. One of my students, Taylor Crafton, took first place in the senior division of the skills competition in 2018. She was the first female ever to win the competition and it has been an annual event for more than 15 years. Since winning the contest she has attended Ivy Tech working toward an associate degree in automotive technology. She is also attending Indiana State University to obtain a teaching degree in career and technology education. She has been hired by Clay Community Schools as the instructional assistant in my automotive service program. It has been wonderful to work with her this year. She is eager to help all of our students succeed. The guys in the class count on her to help them with numerous projects and our growing female population feels comfortable going to her for assistance.
Our junior, Ryan Bolinger also placed first in his division. Ryan worked very hard to accomplish that goal and has worked hard this year to set an example for other students on the work ethic and professionalism that we expect. He has had several job offers as a result of the contest and has a very bright future ahead of him. It was a very special day that I will never forget.
Skilled trades are in high demand. In the education world where we continue to see the elimination of CTE classes and the struggle to find CTE teachers for those who are retiring, I hope that we will see a turn in direction soon. Career and technology education is vital to our economy, we will always need people that can build and repair things. I hope that I can work to see my program build and hopefully inspire students to work in a trade and have a career that is as rewarding as mine.