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'Adulting Classes' Teach Louisville High School Seniors Useful Skills

Fern Creek High School senior Fischer Biggs changes a tire.
Fern Creek High School senior Fischer Biggs changes a tire.

Featured image: Fern Creek High School senior Fischer Biggs changes a tire.

Seniors at Fern Creek High School in Louisville are spending part of their last few days of school in “adulting” classes. The students are getting the opportunity to pick up some skills kids don’t often learn in school – things like basic car maintenance, simple home repairs and cooking a few recipes.

Students took turns Tuesday jacking up a car in a school parking lot. Grant Inge of Jefferson County Community and Technical College was teaching them to change a tire.

"All right so, we have the car off the ground, the wheels off the ground, so the next thing we need to do?" Inge asked the students crowded around the wheel.

"Jack stand!" one student shouted out.

High school senior Greg Moundine said he could have used this class earlier this year, when a friend who was giving him a ride got his first flat tire.

"I got stuck in the middle of the road," Moundine said. "We had to call a Lyft or Uber just to come and pick us up and let us use their tools because he didn't have any."

Inge said that not all students will have the power tools and heavy car lift he brought to the class tucked in the backs of their cars. But maybe they'll think to keep a few tools in their vehicle trunks in the future, he said.

In another class, students learned about basic plumbing and home repairs: how to identify a leak and turn off their water or gas line, how to repair a toilet fill valve or buy the right plunger.

In the Family and Consumer Science classroom, teachers Inga Arnold and Lucille Anderson showed how to make French toast in a coffee mug, using just a microwave; it's likely the only cooking device college freshmen will have in their dorm rooms.

"Eggs are a fantastic thing to cook in the microwave," Arnold advised, reminding students they can find more microwave recipes online.

Student Isaiah Deleon said even though he plans to commute to college next year instead of living in a dorm, he'd consider making the French toast for breakfast, because it's easier and faster than making it on the stove.

Fern Creek High’s College Access Resource Teacher Sara Wilson-Abell designed the three-day program for all seniors after seeing a similar program at Bullitt County Schools. She wanted to expand that idea, and touch on as many life skills as possible. She started by asking herself – and her former students who have since graduated – what adults need to know.

"They need to know some money stuff, they need to know some of the home and health things: changing a tire ... and the laundry and the five basic recipes," she said.

The seniors will spend three days during their last week of high school in hands-on workshops hosted by their teachers and expert community members. One day is focused on financial skills, another on home and mental health and the last day is focused on professional skills.

Wilson-Abell said she kept all her students in mind when she designed the program, whether they are headed to college or to the workforce, to help prepare them for whatever is ahead.

"A lot of our kids are going to go out and they’re going to move out, and they're on their own," Wilson-Abell said. "Now, hopefully they’re a little bit more prepared for that."

Hopefully, the students took good notes.

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.