A Look inside Malden High School’s Automotive Course

Gustavo Pereira Batista also contributed to this article

In the basement near the pool entrance, a wandering student will find the automotive shop. It contains all the tools, resources, and safety precautions a shop might need, with quite a few donated cars for students to work with. These cars are used for Malden High’s classes in automotive, where students learn how to work with cars. It starts off with the beginner class to learn all of the simple things. Then, it moves to the intermediate and advanced classes with the harder and more technical things.

Malden High School auto shop sign. CAROLINE SANTOS

Chris Bazzinotti, also known as Bazz, has been teaching at Malden High for at least 30 years. Students who take his class end up loving it and some have become mechanics themselves. He has not only built connections with his students but built a nice, interactive environment for himself and students alike. 

“There are students who really want to learn and others who just want to be there with you and that’s okay,” Bazzinotti stated.

Luis Sousa in the beginner class stated, “Bazz is very nice and super wise; he always has the best stories.” Jonathan Casino included that he thinks he has “the best class at MHS and it is really fun.”

The students always have good things to say about the class. “One thing I love about the class is how interactive and hands-on it is,” Sousa described. Kyla Jobson added to that, saying, “We never do boring things, the class always flew by and I looked forward to it.”

The beginner class is a half-year course. In this class, students learn all the basic things of a car such as how to change tires, oil, basic car parts, and much more. Bazz also gives a lot of advice about how to buy your first car and what signs to look for. He tells his students, “It is important to know basic information about cars because everyone will end up having one.” 

Student fixing car parts. CAROLINE SANTOS

After you take the beginner class and pass students can take the intermediate class and then after the advanced class. These courses are a full-year class. In these classes, you have more freedom and can work on more things. You will do harder things such as rebuilding an engine, and dealing with more machines. Bazz is always there looking out and making sure they are being safe but he puts a lot of trust in the students who decide to take the intermediate and advanced classes. 

Before working on any cars or using any tools, students are required to watch a safety video and take a mini quiz to make sure they understand it. Along with that, they also have to sign a safety contract stating that they will not purposely mess up the property or be inappropriate in the shop. 

The workshop has quite a few cars students can work on. Usually, the cars donated are cars that cannot be fixed. They are an essential part of the class. Bazz will often assign a car to a group of students and then will have them start a basic routine; jack up the car, screw the bolts off the tires, take the tires out, rotate them, screw them back on, and repeat. He will do this until students can do it by themselves without help. 

Bazz also likes to switch it up sometimes and have the students make a project on certain topics, such as solar energy, train technology, fossil fuels, electric vehicles, and more. Students will have to research their topic and make a five-minute presentation on it. Bazz mentioned that the students have a lot of fun making it. 

The class does not have many tests or quizzes, but Bazz will give one or two throughout the class to make sure that students are taking in all the information. He does not give anything he has not already taught. Like many teachers, Bazz will tell students in advance and give them time to prepare. 

From taking apart his bicycles at the age of six to fixing a motorcycle engine, Bazzanotti has always had a love for automobiles. After that, he was inspired to be a mechanic. He went to vocational school and then later to Mass Bay Community College and got a job at Chevrolet. After 10 years he started working as a teacher.

After all these years, Bazz still loves to do his job and cannot imagine a life in which he did not start teaching. He loves to teach and connect with his students. He hopes this class continues at the school and expands to more shops in the future. Bazz knows this will help students in the future and takes it very seriously.

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