Meet The Makers

Some students fuel their creativity into hands-on projects with unimaginable skill

Some students draw when they get home from school. Others are in acting groups or on sports teams. A few Pumas hit up their homework the second they get home, or more likely, they say they will do work but instead get trapped in a Netflix abyss. Here is a new group of students, a group few of us see: The Makers. When these students get home, they create. They actually build things for fun.

Senior David Rogers Gonzalez is building his own car. “I am currently rebuilding a 1970 Dodge Challenger RT,” he said.

Rogers-Gonzalez got the shell of the car from Connecticut, and he has been rebuilding different parts for the last two years. “When I drive this car, I’ll have the satisfaction [of knowing that] I built this car. This car is here because I built it. It makes it feel a thousand times better,” he said.

All drivers know how to fill up the gas, some can even check the oil and tire pressure. If you are really advanced, you might know how to replace a tire and refill the coolant. Rogers-Gonzalez is doing things like replacing the engine, transmission, body work and every one of the thousand things that make a car work. “My first experience [with cars] was with an old 1980 Mercedes Benz 300SD that my grandpa used to have. We rebuilt the engine with the help of my uncle. [My uncle] would always work on different cars, and we would always help him,” Rogers-Gonzalez said.

You can build with hundreds of materials, and freshman Sasha Lees has found herself building with a variety of things. Lees grew up in Australia, and her passion for sculpting was born on her family’s farm back home. “I built sculptures. I welded out of metal and steel,” she said. “We lived on a farm and my dad had all the equipment to [weld and] he taught me how to use it.”

One of the sculptures Lees created in Australia is a massive steal owl. Each feather is a differeing piece of metal that she welded together for the wings and body of the bird.

Here at University Prep, Lees participated in Science Olympiad, and there she found herself limited to a material very different from steel. “We were in a competition called Towers, and what you had to do was build a tower that was one meter high and had to hold a certain amount of weight. We could only use glue and wood to build it,” she said.

Whatever it is, from supported and highly engineered towers to giant, metal owl scultures, Lees has mastered transforming her creative ideas into different tangible structures. “I like how you can think of an idea and see it turn into an actual thing. You can take sketches and drawing from paper and making that into a 3D object which is pretty cool,” Lees said.

While you read or nap after school, senior David Kahn builds. “Building allows me to express my creativity. In my free time, I build things. It’s like second nature to me.”

Kahn works with electronics and mechanics. He is currently working on two big projects. The first is a high-tech toolbox. “It’s called a PWS, it’s a Portable Workstation,” he said. “It’s going to have soldering equipment and different tools to help me design and build things,” he said.

The second project is for people to play music with loud bass in a way that doesn’t bother others. “My parents don’t like it when I play my music through my new sound system because it’s loud and the bass shakes the house a little bit,” Kahn said. “The thing I designed is a panel for the back of your seat, you lean against it, and when you play your music you will feel the bass without anyone else hearing it.”

By Yoela Zimberoff