PLA Grant Sends OHS Students to Ford Plant
By Ben Johnson, Student Reporter, Onekama School
In a unique learning opportunity on May 4, Onekama High School students were given a chance to witness a new breed of trucks in production.
Made possible by a grant from the Portage Lake Association and the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel, the sophomore class of Onekama High School traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit the Ford Rouge Center, which is devoted to making the new generation of F-150s.
“The Portage Lake Association believes that a cornerstone of a community is its school system,” says PLA member Al Taylor. “We work with the school system to find opportunities to support education efforts. This year, we are proud to be a sponsor for the OCS Sophomore Class Trip to the Ford Rogue Plant in Dearborn.”
Upon arriving at the Rouge Plant, students checked out classic cars like the 1964 Mustang and a vintage Thunderbird. Student Joseph McCarthy commented, “It was really cool to see all those cars, because they’re a piece of history.”
After being given time to look at the cars, the students watched two short films. One talked about Henry Ford’s vision and the history of the Rouge, while the other was a light show extraordinaire featuring the all-new F-150.
The students were given background on the plant, and then were led to the testing center to see the trucks getting ready for the road. Afterwards, they were led to the manufacturing room to see how the F-150s are assembled.
“It was really neat there, because we could see all the features being put together,” said sophomore Makayla Spearman.
After 45 minutes watching the assembly line in action, the students returned to Onekama, with a first-hand knowledge of the workings of an automobile plant, and with a greater appreciation of this important piece of Michigan’s history and economy.
“By visiting a state of the art manufacturing plant, we hope the kids can see the many roles that some of them might fill in the future - engineers, electricians, machine operators, computer programmers, lab technicians, maintenance personnel and others,” asserts Taylor. “All of these roles require a good education, and most require post high school education and training.”