A group of Bonneville High School students would like a tiny slice of the credit for the smashing allied victory in the Persian Gulf.
The students helped manufacture the 093 control lever - an approximately 3-inch part that goes on the forward launcher mechanism that supports the AMRAAM missile prior to launch.As American planes went into action in the Middle East, that tiny part was crucial to the proper functioning of armaments, said Mont Forsyth, Bonneville industrial arts teacher.
The success of the war put smiles on the faces of nine Bonneville students who were involved in the project, Forsyth said. They had done the final milling on about 2,500 of the parts.
Their $1,700 contract with Golden State Casting, an Ogden aerospace company, to complete the parts was the first job for Bonneville Precision, a student-run company created to give these metals shop students an extraordinary educational experience.
The jobs they contract provide wages - about $4 an hour - for the students in after-school activity.
"Golden State was really surprised at the students' speed and accuracy," said Bonneville Principal Carl Boyington. The youths completed the project in a week and a half and didn't lose a single part because of error.
Quality control is one of the essential facts of industrial life that the students are learning as they pursue contracts in the community. Every fifth 093 was subjected to the scrutiny of a student inspector. A Golden State inspector worked with the students initially, going over the job specifications to ensure quality.
"These kids turn out a higher quality product than many businesses," Forsyth said.
Bonneville Precision has involved other Bonneville Lakers in the effort as well. The school's art department designed the business logo and a business student keeps the books.
Besides the 093 control lever, the Bonneville Precision workers have contracted to manufacture 16 components for a Weber State University space satellite, playground equipment and a reverse-thrust lever for DC-10 aircraft.
They're looking for more jobs, Forsyth said. "We have to just go out and scrounge around for them." Golden State donated a vertical mill to the school, and Forsyth has drummed up grants and donations for additional state-of-the-art equipment for his program.
"My ultimate goal is to have a piece of equipment for every student," he said. He hopes to enlarge his stock of computerized machining equipment to give students an edge on current employment opportunities as they leave.
Besides his industry connections, he has worked jointly with Weber State University to provide some students with concurrent enrollment opportunities, Forsyth said. Several students have left Bonneville with a good head start on their higher-education goals. Others have gone directly into machining employment with local industries, job-ready because of the high school company.
"This is great job experience," said Jared Meyer, who hopes his training will lead to work that will support a college education.
Brian Hall and Jeremy Johnson also are looking at careers in some type of engineering, and will use their Bonneville Precision experience to leverage jobs. "They're good skills to fall back on," said Hall, even if the post-high-school plans take different directions.
Michael Taylor, who will represent Bonneville in state competitions for the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, isn't sure of his ultimate plans. But the job exposure at Bonneville will stand him in good stead whatever he decides, he said.
Forsyth has been involved with other educators and business representatives in the Weber area to develop a certificate that high school students can take into the employment arena, listing the competencies they have developed.
Bonneville's school-to-job emphasis has been noted by the Utah State Office of Education as an exemplary innovation.