CLEARFIELD -- There is more to life in the automotive technician industry than meets the eye.
That's what Ed Schirner has been trying to teach his students for the past 10 years at Clearfield High School.
During an educational trip to Torrance, Calif., in February, a small group of automotive technology students will get to experience what Schirner professes.
Students from 24 high schools will tour Toyota's auto museum and American headquarters, as well as the headquarters of American Honda and Edelbrock Motors. They also have tickets to attend a professional National Hot Rod Association drag race.
"This kind of gets the kids thinking outside the box of automotive technology," Schirner said. "They get to see there is a design world and an advertising world."
Most people, he said, think the only option for automotive technology students is to become a mechanic at a garage or car dealership.
The trip is part of Weber State University's annual Auto Tech Competition. Nearly 70 high schools began competing in December, beginning with a written portion of the contest. The top 24 schools were invited to return to campus for the hands-on competition Feb. 16.
As a bonus, students from those 24 schools are invited to accompany WSU instructors Feb. 8 for the competition's annual California trip. The high school students have to pay their own way, but Schirner said the trip is worth the money.
Chris Bingham, student body president and an automotive technology student at Clearfield High, has been looking forward to this trip for the past two years.
"We'll get to learn a lot about what (the corporations) have to offer and which direction I might want to go, as far as working in a corporate atmosphere," said Bingham, 18, a senior from Syracuse.
Bingham said he spent the summer earning money for the trip by working for his father, Sterling Bingham, who owns Sterling Quality Tires & Service in Clinton.
"I like what he does and how he's a business owner, but I want to do something a little different," Chris Bingham said.
Schirner also said the trip serves as a recruiting trip for WSU, the school where Schirner said he sends more automotive technology students than any other school.
"Because Weber State puts this on for them, the high school students get to mingle with instructors from WSU," Schirner said.
"They can talk to those instructors and get to know them and have a rapport with them."
While the trip serves a recruiting purpose for WSU, the time touring the corporations is also educational for the students.
"The students have an excellent time, and they come back with a whole different picture of what the automotive industry has to offer them," Schirner said. "I've never heard a student complain about it."