Former shop owner turned educator makes a difference in students' future

FOX 46 Charlotte continues to honor teachers getting results. This week, the station went to Gaston County where a former auto shop owners is now making a difference in his students’ future.

Students really get their hands dirty in Shane Hawkins’ Auto Shop at East Gaston High School.

“Way more hands on. Normally you just do book work, but you get to grab tools and do stuff in here,” student Hunter Bloomer said.

For five years, Mr. Hawkins has been teaching teens how to safely work on cars, diagnose problems, and then fix them.

“I probably wouldn’t have cared about school much more if I wouldn’t have been in Auto,” student Joshua Reeves said.

“He not only teaches his students to take what they learn in the classroom and uses it in a real-life, but he also becomes a mentor to a lot of his students and by doing so he motivates them to stay in school,” Principal Jennifer Reep said.

It’s that connection to his students that caught FOX 46 Charlotte’s attention.

Mr. Hawkins working hard to show teens a career path – should they want to go into the automotive industry. In some cases – setting them up with jobs.

“I've established an advisory program with local shops. We meet twice a year. They tell us what their needs are and we try to meet them here,” Hawkins said.

“He lined up a job for me,” Reeves explained.

Hawkins said he sees himself in his students. He took Auto Tech in High School, went to Gaston College and had his own shop for years.

“I was more of a hands-on king of guy that liked to work on cars,” he said.

Never thinking he’d get into education – he’s a teacher getting results – who can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I enjoy the students, the interaction with them, and just seeing them be able to succeed after school,” Hawkins said.

You can hear more from Mr. Hawkins live on Good Day Charlotte Thursday morning.