Student builds relationship while rebuilding car

Yvette Ybarra

Anyone can go to a mechanic to get a problem with their car fixed, but how many people can say they have rebuilt a car on their own? Senior Justice Martinez, with the help of her father, rebuilt an old El Camino to running condition. 

“My family owns a body shop,”  Martinez said. “My dad and I found the car in a junkyard in San Antonio and wanted to fix it up.” 

Though Martinez got the car running, it wasn’t an easy process. 

“Communicating was hard,” Martinez said. “[My dad] was always under the car and I was always looking at the engine, so we couldn’t hear each other very well – it was complicated.” 

Though the process of rebuilding the car was difficult, Martinez and her dad persevered to see the project through. 

“Building a car is difficult,” Martinez said. “Teamwork is the most important thing in projects like these and getting to know the person you’re working with helps too.” 

Science teacher Charlese Brown was impressed by Martinez’s story. 

“I don’t know of any students who have built a car with their father,” Brown said. “The collaboration will teach her a lot about life.” 

Brown says that Martinez’s experience has had an effect on the way she works in class. 

“Justice is very much a leader,” Brown said. “She’s detailed-oriented, pays close attention to directions in class and can work independently. She’s extremely mature.”

Martinez and her dad never scheduled time to work on the car. Both Martinez and her dad had busy schedules, but over time they found opportunities to continue working on their project. 

“It was a three-year project,” Martinez said. “It was on and off, whenever we had time.”

It wasn’t just a functioning car that Martinez got out of the experience. She got a more personal relationship with her dad. 

“My dad and I got to bond,” Martinez said. “I got to know my dad personally. I found out how he grew up and more about him.”