Revving engines and shining chrome overwhelmed the senses at Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge in May, as their almost annual car show got underway. This year’s automotive gathering marks the seventh time this event has taken place at the school as part of an effort to help provide some real-world context, experience and inspiration for students in the tech-related fields at GPSS.
Tim Biro, a teacher in the transportation and hospitality program, headed up the effort to bring the car show back this year and he was pleased the weather appeared to be on his side. “It’s the clearest sky I have seen in a long time,” he remarked with a smile.
A student poses for a photo in a classic car at the GPSS car show.
Biro has deep roots in the automotive and hospitality fields. Before becoming a teacher, he worked as both a chef and auto mechanic and brings his experience into the work he does every day. He explained the event wasn’t just catered to those in the automotive stream, as all the food available at the event was made by students in the hospitality program. They were able to hone their skills delivering a large quantity service to the crowds that came out to take in the car show. “If you go into the kitchen, they’re busy as bees serving lunch,” he said with a laugh.
The Tech Department wasn’t the only area of the school involved, as students from the Art Department helped to design t-shirts and students’ math skills came into play when they were budgeting for the event. “We’re trying to bring it to as much of the school as we can,” said Biro. “It’s cross-curricular left, right and centre.”
The turnout from the community, both car owners and spectators, exceeded Biro’s expectations. “This has got to be one of our biggest car counts ever,” he said, adding that the variety of vehicles on display was truly impressive. From WWII-era motorcycles to full-electric Teslas, there was something for everyone. This year’s event also coincided with an elementary PD day, allowing younger spectators and their families to enjoy the event.
While the turnout and response from the community were fantastic, Biro’s real hope is that the event is a learning opportunity for all students at GPSS. He wants them to see the broad array of careers available to them if they continue to pursue an education in a technical field, from writing technical guides to being a parts expert. “They can be anything, they don’t have to be working on the car all the time,” said Biro. “There’s more tech out there for them to discover.”
As luck would have it, Tim’s brother, Chris Biro, is the owner of RPM Magazine (http://rpm-mag.com/), an international automotive publication. Chris and his publication have been supporters of the GPSS car show since it started, and he explained that it’s important to support this event as it’s something he knows students value. “More than anything, it’s about supporting the community and the kids,” said Chris. “When I was in high school, we didn’t have anything like this.”
Over the years, he’s seen the event evolve and change, but always maintaining the passion and enthusiasm that the students bring. What has always helped the GPSS car show stand apart, is the overwhelmingly positive attitude of all those taking part and the variety of vehicles on display. “I see different cars every year,” said Chris. “From new to old, you see a bit of everything.” Electric cars, including those made by Tesla, Chevrolet and Audi, were out greater numbers than ever before, he noted.
The Tesla Model X performed its showpiece display, which was a hit with the crowd.
Kevin, a grade 10 tech student at GPSS, helped to plan the car show and was running the tire change competition area. Participants had the opportunity to test their tire changing skills against the clock, with the fastest time winning a prize. He was ecstatic about the turnout for the event, especially after all the hard work his teachers and fellow students put into making the car show a reality. “Mr. Biro and all the tech teachers put a lot of work into planning this and getting it to where it is today,” said Kevin.
Cars and automotive work are not new to him, though. Kevin has always had an interest in cars, and often spent time working on vehicles at home before having the opportunity to enrol in the tech program this year. He hopes to continue taking the tech courses available to him at GPSS, with the ultimate goal of attending Conestoga College and opening his own automotive shop one day. “That’s what I love to do,” said Kevin.
A student races to change a tire in the fastest time.
Claudia Chrysler, another grade 10 student, wasn’t involved with the car show but came out to check out the cars on display and try her hand at changing a tire. “It was interesting seeing all the different cars,” said Chrysler. “I thought it was pretty cool.”
Also on display at the show was a fire truck and rescue boat from the Cambridge Fire Department. They were on hand to show off their unique vehicles while taking the opportunity to deliver a safety message to students and members of the public. Captain Dave Mazmanian explained the students and attendees really gravitated towards the boat, as it was “something a little bit different from the cars here.”
Interestingly, Mazmanian is a former GPSS graduate, and remarked at the experience of returning to his former school. He explained the first 20 years out of high school felt like he just left, but times have changed. “At age 53 I don’t feel that way anymore,” Mazmanian said with a laugh. “I’m lamenting right now about getting old.”
As a former tech student himself, Mazmanian remarked at what a motivational experience it would be for the students seeing the show, and how it would allow them to build stronger bonds with their teachers and peers. “This must be a really great thing for the auto students,” said Mazmanian. “I’m glad these kids have this opportunity.”
As the sun started to sink in the sky, and the show began to wind up, Chris Biro helped to sum up the GPSS car show in a few words. “It’s a small show that does big things,” he said with a smile.