Motorsports and Engineering club jump starts interest in mechanics


Blotches of thick, black grease are swiped across the jeans of senior John Jogopulos as he reaches into the motor of an old, broken down truck. The 1982 Ford F-250 pickup truck is not the only relic in the driveway, as the ability to fix an engine, much less change a tire, has been lost on many teenagers of the twitter age.

Jogopulos found that PHS lacked an adequate extracurricular engineering program, and took charge by creating and serving as president of the Motorsports and Engineering club.

“The school has no engineering program, class, or academy, nothing like that whatsoever, and I wanted to work on engineering projects,” Jogopulos said. “I knew two other people had the same mindset, so we started the club together.”

Jogopulos and vice president of the Motorsports and Engineering club, sophomore James Manolis started the club in an effort to share their interest in mechanics with other students, Manolis said.

“We shared a common interest in motors and vehicles and building cool things like that,” Manolis said. “We had started our own small projects and then decided to make a club so we could teach some other kids who were also interested and hopefully work on some bigger projects.”

Students may not feel as though they need to know mechanics, however being knowledgeable about cars and mechanics can come in handy, Manolis said.

“Mechanics is a really valuable field to be educated in because a lot of people nowadays don’t really learn that much about mechanics,” Manolis said.

Club member sophomore Jared Tsukahara said that his interest in cars began as a young child when he played with Hot Wheels, and after joining the club he has learned about what goes on under the hood of a car.
“I am more or less learning about how an engine works, how to fix it, jump start it, and diagnose a problem,” Tsukahara said.

Studying an engine and mechanics in the club has also transformed how Tsukahara solves problems in his day-to-day life, Tsukahara said.

“I look at things slightly differently now because if there is a problem, I try to look at how I could solve it instead of why the problem is there,” Tsukahara said.

The Motorsports and Engineering club discusses future projects and grants at lunchtime club meetings, and have now turned their attention to the Piedmont Maker Faire, Jogopulos said.
“We are showing off our projects at the Maker Faire; we are trying to get a grant from the Maker Faire people,” Jogopulos said.

As for the 1982 F-250 sitting in Jogopulos’ driveway, club members pooled money together to purchase it from a seller in San Jose. In addition to lunchtime meetings, the club also meets outside of school on the weekends to fix up broken automobiles, from trucks to ATVs, and sell them for profit. The profit is then invested back into the club to buy their next project, Jogopulos said.

“We are a bunch of kids doing big, legit projects,” Jogopulos said.