An early 1950s Farmall Cub tractor was rusted, and the motor didn’t run.

But once five Trinity Lutheran High School seniors got their hands on it and they received some help from a few local businesses, that tractor now has a fresh, shiny coat of red paint and a running motor.

The tractor is now ready to be used for small cultivating jobs around a farm or showing off in parades.

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It will go to the winning bidder during the school’s annual auction Feb. 28 at Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus.

While proceeds from other items that day will go toward tuition assistance for students, money from the tractor will benefit Trinity’s FFA, agriculture and industrial arts programs, led by Bryan Schroer.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the word out that we’re doing this and even show supporters at the auction that we have a lot of different things going with the skills that the kids learn,” Schroer said.

Lloyd Meyer of Bartholomew County donated the tractor in November. It had been sitting in his barn, and he wasn’t going to restore it, Schroer said.

By the first of December, five seniors in Trinity’s ag power class had disassembled it. The hood and some other pieces were taken to Crane Hill Machine and Fabrication Inc. for sandblasting and painting. Pomp’s Tire donated the front tires and helped get the back tires set up. Mechanic Shawn McKinney taught the students about the motor.

“We took the motor itself out of the tractor, but (McKinney) took it to a shop that had them rebuild it,” Schroer said. “In the past, students have done that, but that would have added a lot of time. It’s nice with a machine shop doing it because they can clean everything up and make it spec-wise work better.”

Some of the seniors had experience with motors, but it was a little different working on an antique tractor.

“It’s easier than working on a modern-day tractor, that’s for sure,” Mitchell Flinn said. “There’s not electronics. It’s all mechanical, and you can’t really hurt anything. You don’t have to worry about a computer failing or something like that.”

He added it was a good challenge.

“It’s like a big puzzle, really,” Flinn said. “Any motor is about the same if you take it apart. Obviously, you’ve got to keep the bolts and everything separate, and everything has to go in one place.”

Clayton Terry said it was a good change of pace working on an old tractor.

“I’ve worked on motors a lot, so it helped a lot with this,” he said. “There’s still a lot of stuff I learned from the mechanic that helped us out. We changed the piston rings inside, and I’ve never done that before. Just stuff around the motor, he helped us out a lot.”

Clayton Pottschmidt said he knew a few things about working on a motor, but he learned a lot more.

“Whenever we cracked the engine and put the pistons back in, I didn’t know much about that,” he said. “There was a lot that I picked up from the mechanic.”

The seniors did all of their work in the school’s agriculture shop building, which was completed in late 2013 after Henry Wischmeier sought financial support, building supplies and free labor from area individuals and businesses. Classes started there in January 2014.

Wischmeier, who was a teacher for 43 years and has farmed most of his life, wanted a place for students interested in farming, construction, tools and machinery to learn and practice skills needed to work in those vocations.

Wischmeier helped with the tractor project and said it was great to see the kids making good use of the building.

“It’s exciting, very exciting,” he said. “Bryan is really doing a good job getting all of the groups active, all the way from woodwork to welding to restoring now.”

Before the building was constructed, Schroer said, his students worked on picnic tables for the auction in the school’s hallway or greenhouse. Now, they have all kinds of space to work on projects and learn skills, including welding, woodworking, plumbing and simple wiring.

“We’ll have kids in each of the different areas doing a certain thing, learning a certain aspect or skill. After three or four days, then they’ll rotate,” Schroer said. “They may do 16 different things over a semester.”

Schroer said students can take ag mechanics or ag power for up to four semesters. For their final semester or second year, they come up with their own project to do.

Those skills are valuable and could guide students into a career, Schroer said.

“It could be any area or they just get a background on being able to change an electrical outlet at home and learn how that works,” he said.

Terry said he plans to study diesel mechanics at the University of Northwestern Ohio.

“The hands-on that we’ve done on this (tractor) will help me a lot,” he said.

Pottschmidt and fellow senior Britney Wischmeier both said they plan to studying agribusiness in college, while senior Tommy Davis is interested in studying business.

“I think it will help a lot because you are learning the ins and outs of the tractor, and you can always talk with people about it,” Pottschmidt said.

Wischmeier said she grew up around a shop, but it was good to learn some new skills.

“I never have restored anything before, so I didn’t really know how to clean up things that were rusty or anything like that,” she said. “I thought they were supposed to be replaced. I didn’t know you could sandblast them and everything else and they could be brand new again.”

Davis said he benefited most from working with others.

“I think the main thing it will help me out with is just learning to work in groups with people and somebody takes this role and somebody takes another role,” he said. “It has been a good experience being able to work like a team and be able to help each other out.”

The others agreed working together was a good experience.

“The progress is a lot faster, and working together really helps us as a team. It goes together smooth, and it teaches us how to get along and become one working on something,” Flinn said.

“We could see what other people were good at and what you’re good at, and we can all just work together and learn from others,” Pottschmidt added.

“It’s pretty fun that we all got to do this senior project and get to donate it to the auction,” Terry said. “I think it will help us as a class just to show the ag program does a lot of work together.”

Wischmeier said it gives the seniors ownership, too.

“It is going to be neat looking back and just seeing that (tractor) and being like, ‘That was the Class of 2015 seniors doing that,’” she said.

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“It’s easier than working on a modern-day tractor, that’s for sure. There’s not electronics. It’s all mechanical, and you can’t really hurt anything. You don’t have to worry about a computer failing or something like that.”

Trinity Lutheran student Mitchell Flinn, on restoring a Farmall Cub tractor


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