When you walk into Jim Reve's class at Lennard High School, you won't find many students reading textbooks. Instead, they are using tools and critical thinking skills to create projects like solar ovens.
"We try as hard as we can to make this class and hands-on as possible," Reve said.
Reve teaches an introduction to solar energy class at Lennard where students have the opportunity to earn their Certified Production Technician certification through Hillsborough Community College.
"This course is designed to express the creative, competitive, and scientific nature of engineering in a method that is approachable and motivating to a majority of students," Reve said.
And it's working.
"When I took this class, I learned how to use all of the tools I should know already. I had no idea how to take apart anything or make anything," said student Samantha Norstrem.
Students say the skills they gained from this class don't only help them in the classroom. They are using their new life skills to repair things at home using tools they didn't know how to use before.
"We learn valuable things like the solar ovens. We had a terrible hurricane last year. This will help you heat water and make ramen noodles," said student Ladiada Jolly.
This is the second year Reve has taught the class.
A faculty member at Lennard who read the district's "Thinking Cap" newsletter nominated Mr. Reve to be featured by the district. Fox 13 also took note of Mr. Reve's teaching style and highlighted him on the "What's Right With Tampa Bay" segment.
"Mr. Reve is in it to win it. He's there to help you out whenever you need help. But he's not going to coddle you which I really enjoy. So when it came to building (solar) cars, and I had no idea where to start, he provides basic plans and ideas but won't hold your hand and tell you exactly where to put everything. He'll let you fail, which I really enjoy," said Norstrem.
"It's an awesome school. It's the best school in the county and I would put Lennard's engineering students against anybody," said Reve.
That is high praise from Reve, considering he retired from Lockheed Martin after 26 years as an engineer. His goal is to continue to grow the program while equipping students with important life skills for graduation.
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