By Brandon HENSLEY
Students from Clark Magnet High School attended the L.A. Auto Show on Dec. 4, and thanks to the effort of their teacher, a national program based off of the experience is being put together.
Kelly Brinker, who teaches several commercial photography classes at Clark, took 32 students to the show last year when her father offered to send them with sponsorship provided by the United Auto Workers Local 160 in Warren, Mich. She then came up with the idea of a one-day job/internship with General Motors where the students would focus on marketing research and automotive photography.
A website and a message board was created where students could post their work and offer suggestions to GM. She sent an email to Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors, telling him what she had done.
“What CEO of a Fortune 500 company is going to listen to a teacher?” she said.
But it worked. Fifteen minutes after receiving her email, Akerson responded and said he was on board with the idea and wanted to discuss it in more detail. The objective now is to make a nationwide program, said Brinker, although this year Clark students tested it out themselves.
This past August, Brinker traveled to her native Detroit and met with Akerson at GM’s headquarters, and they talked about what do for this year’s show. With additional efforts from the L.A. Auto Show staff and the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources personnel, they scheduled the event for Dec. 4 with the students gaining entrance to the show one hour before the public.
But the students in Brinker’s classes didn’t get to go just because they wanted to.
“Seventy kids applied. I made it like a job,” she said. Students had to submit cover letters, resumes and work samples along with their applications. Only 36 students were “hired.” One of them was junior Sevag Vosnoyan, who is in photography 3-4.
What was his best answer for how he got the job?
“I like to take pictures of nice cars on the street,” he said.
Since Brinker is from Detroit, she’s pushed the importance of American-made cars onto her students and at least Vosnoyan said he’s coming around.
“I’m more of a VW/BMW/Mercedes person,” he said. “I love the quality and how they’re made. But I really like the American cars for their style.”
He said he’s fond of the new Cadillac cars.
“I’m kind of shifting towards American cars now,” he said.
Brinker was excited her class is learning more about U.S. cars. She said the girls fell in love with the Corvettes and Camaros, but that everyone was “amazed” when they got to design the displays to do lighting and other technical jobs at the show.
Brinker said Doug Dall went to the show last year and supports the class on this endeavor.
“He loved the fact that we were going to give them real-world experience,” she said. “And that’s what Clark is really about.
“It’s a whole ’nother world out here and I just want to show them there’s different jobs available to them.”
To check out what Brinker’s classes have been up to, visit clarkmagnetmedialaautoshow2012.shutterfly.com.