Car show provides learning experience for Alamo students
A car show in Alamo on Saturday featured over 30 vehicles. The event was organized and sponsored by teachers and personnel from the high school. It drew exhibitors from the area who displayed their motorcycles, trucks and cars. Attendees were treated to a barbecue.
Clifford Serna of Polvadera, an employee of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, won the crowd favorite award with his yellow Honda motorcycle. The overall best of show award was won by Eric Ganadonegro’s Mud Bogger, a 1996 Ford Bronco with a 351 Cleveland engine.
The show at the high school was the “culmination event” of the Expeditionary Learning program at Alamo Navajo High School. It had all begun weeks earlier with kickoff events designed to grab the attention of students of all ages in high-energy activities to study the history of New Mexico’s early trade routes and their resulting impact on the population.
The exercise was designed to get learners to literally “get their kicks on Route 66,” one of the more well known and prominent trade routes that began in the early 1920s. Route 66 has been defined as the most famous road in American history, eventually meandering over 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles and becoming the main street in Albuquerque.
Alamo English, math, history and art teachers contributed to the event by showing the relationship of their disciplines to the trade routes theme.
“Each teacher looked at the exercise through their own lens,” art teacher Hanna Treder said. “For example, the math teacher might require learners to calculate miles per gallon for specific distances, locations and the different vehicles traveling the route.”
A history teacher may cite examples of the difficulties encountered and development of transportation. An English teacher may assign students to research the road’s influence on the writings of John Steinbeck or Jack Kerouac. Hands-on experience for the students involved trips to museums to view exhibits of art and artifacts depicting the history and the vehicles that traveled the internationally famous highway, as well as the restaurants and filling stations that serviced tourists.
“It made for a deeper experience,” Treder said. “Along with the barbecue it was very relaxed and entertaining but exciting. The students were able to see how things have changed. The owners of the vehicles did a ‘sound off,’ revving engines that excited the crowd.
“The students put in hard work, drawing in handmade sketchbooks and studying various historical personalities like Montezuma and others.”
Exhibits in the culmination event, the car show, included over 30 vehicles. Among them were a ’55 and ’57 Chevrolet, a ’69 Camaro and two Factory Five Shelby Cobras.
The concept of expeditionary learning originated with Kurt Matthias Robert Hahn, a German educator (1886-1974) whose educational philosophies are considered internationally influential. He is responsible for founding the United World Colleges, an alliance of international schools. One of those colleges is the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in Las Vegas, N.M.