Students Rodney Daniel and Jason Guthrie work together to rebuild a four-cycle lawn mower engine after tearing down and doing parts identification assessment.

High schoolers study energy systems, welding, basic maintenance and light repair

By Adrienne Cloud
The Eatonton Messenger
January 10, 2019

 In the past year, students of Putnam County High School involved in energy systems, welding, basic maintenance and light repair have gone on several field trips to help them understand careers that are related to their high school pathway. They visited Yancey Brothers to learn about diesel technology, Plant Vogtel to learn about nuclear energy and Tri-County EMC to learn about solar energy.

Energy systems and basic maintenance and light repair students heard from Yancey employees about their possible future as a diesel technician or parts and service representative. Yancey Power Systems has provided lifelong careers for more than a hundred years in the state of Georgia and is always looking to recruit students that have a good mechanical aptitude and understanding of engines and generators.

PCHS energy systems and welding students toured Plant Vogtel to learn how energy is generated using the process of fission. Students watched a simulated reaction to understand how neutrons bombard fuel rods and cause a chain reaction to provide Georgia with clean energy. Georgia’s four nuclear power plants provide about a quarter of the electricity to the state.

After learning about the components and functions of residential solar installations, energy systems students visited Tri-County EMC’s 1 MW solar field. Students learned about commercial applications and how their families can support and invest in solar by purchasing blocks of solar energy from the local solar field if their home is not ideal for a residential system. Tri-County EMC works hard to educate their customers about the benefits of renewables. They recently hosted an Electric Vehicle (EV) event where customers had an opportunity to test drive different EV’s, including a Tesla. Speakers helped students and guests understand that Electric Vehicles are gaining in popularity and continue to increase in driving range. Cornelius Wilingham, Nissan EV Operations Manager, spoke at the event and gave the following quote with students in mind: “The hottest job you can have is an electric vehicle technician, with a premium on pay and choice of employer because every dealership must have an electric vehicle certified technician.”

Students in Energy Systems did hands-on projects hooking up solar panels, tearing down and rebuilding engines. They did projects that allowed them to compare and contrast residential and commercial solar energy as well as to compare and contrast EV motors with internal combustion engines.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the mission and vision at PCHS where students, staff and community learn, grow and work together to embrace the future,” said Adrienne Cloud, PCHS energy systems instructor.