10/10/10 — SWHS students show diesel know-how

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SWHS students show diesel know-how

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 10, 2010 1:50 AM

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Westly Cerullo and Johnathan Taylor put their diesel engine repair skills on display at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

DUDLEY -- Westly Cerullo shrugs off the injured right thumb hidden under swath of white gauze.

"I kind of smashed it driving to put the camshaft in," he said. "It will be fine."

It was a small price for getting to do something that he loves and plans to make a career of -- working with diesel engines.

Cerullo and Johnathan Taylor were among students from the Southern Wayne High School Diesel Academy who gave up their evenings and weekends to man an interactive booth at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

"I've got a Corvair engine I'd like for you to take a look at when you get through with that," one man said Wednesday evening as the two high school juniors were reassembling a large diesel engine.

People stop by to watch and ask questions -- "What type of engine is that? That is a big engine."

"It (diesel academy) has been up and running for three years," Taylor said. "It has been going good. We tear down Caterpillar, Cummings and Detroit (diesel engines). We love it. It is fun. It gives them a reason to stay in school and lets them have fun. If they stay in it for three years and did good on their assessments they will become a certified mechanic right out of high school.

"I have always loved diesel engines since I was 6-years-old. I always loved driving in the 18-wheelers and I decided to work on them. I am planning on becoming a submarine mechanic for the Navy. I love diesel it has always been in my blood."

Cerullo, who said his uncle drives a semi, also been in the academy all three years.

"I like working with engines and decided it would be a fun thing to do. I would love to continue in diesel," he said.

Cerullo said he plans to further his education at ATI or UCI for a degree following graduation from Southern Wayne.

Rudy West, an instructor at Southern Wayne said the booth had generated a lot of interest with people coming by asking questions of the students.

"Students naturally like to answer those questions," West said. "It is pretty neat for them being a teenager to answer questions that an adult ask them about something. We have had a lot of people just stop by and ask the students what they were doing, ask about the program. In fact, many of them didn't know that we have a diesel engine program at Southern Wayne. They really think that it is pretty nice to have one in a high school setting.

"Also, we have had a lot of interest in the school in the program. We have a good enrollment, kids are interested in it. If they go through all three years and pass all of their assessments that are administered by Johnston Community College then they will graduate from Southern Wayne High School with a diesel engine certification from the community college. That means they can, if they want to, go right out in the workforce and get a job or they can continue their education at Johnston Community College in its heavy-truck technology program."

West said the students disassemble then reassemble the engine.

"This is the second time it has been put back together," he said. "It generates a lot of interest people are not normally seeing an engine that large. They comment on how big the pistons are and how large the components are.

"Their favorite question is, 'What did it come out of?' It came out of an International tractor-trailer. You don't normally see something like this at a county fair. Like I said, most people are not familiar unless they are working in this particular trade with an engine that large."