BATH — Working on cars and trucks might not technically be in Max Reed’s blood, but it might as well be.

From a young age, the Morse High School senior has been working on vehicles from pickup trucks and sedans to tractor trailers and school buses, and Reed plans to continue his education in the automotive industry following graduation.

Reed, 18, is planning to attend Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor to study heavy equipment and diesel machinery.

“It’ll be everything from oil trucks and dump trucks to anything with diesel,” Reed said during an interview in the school’s auto body shop last week.

Reed’s father has owned an auto body shop for his whole life, and Reed has worked for his father for the last four years. He said he just likes working on cars.

“I really enjoy it, and I think (instructor David Minott) did a great job preparing me for what I’ll see in college,” Reed said.

Minott, himself a graduate of the program at Morse, said it’s easy to tell that Reed has been around cars and trucks because he’s able to visualize things Minott says in ways other students likely can’t.

“He is just a good student who works hard and tries to understand, he studies and asks the right questions,” Minott said. “He wants to learn and when he sees something he wants, he gets it.”

Reed’s afternoon in the auto body shop at Morse — which can sometimes have five or more vehicles in it at once — includes time in the classroom receiving instruction from Minott and hands-on experience working on aligning tires, changing oil and more advanced repairs.

Students have been working on resurrecting an old Subaru SVX, which by looking at it, doesn’t appear to be ready to get back on the road. But Reed and Minott think it’s only a matter of time before the automotive students get the car up and running again.

Reed got started on his college career by taking a few classes at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, which helped him to join the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center’s automotive technology program.
Reed said he was just coasting along through his freshman and sophomore years, but joining the automotive program as a junior has helped him get much more out of his high school experience.

“I found something I really enjoyed doing, rather than just sitting in a math class, and it has made school more fun for me,” he said.

Looking back on his four years at Morse, Reed said high school went about as he expected, but he admitted that the years went by a lot faster than he thought they would.

He said he’s definitely become more mature and wiser, and he said he’s continued to make better choices as he’s progressed through high school.

“During my freshman year, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but now I have a good sight on the future,” Reed said. “I think I’m in pretty good shape because I’ve never really been worried about what I’m going to do.”

Having six classes a day sometimes became tedious and boring, Reed said, so the first two years before joining the automotive program was exhausting, especially with hours upon hours of homework. He said he’d rather just work in the body shop.

“I like getting my hands dirty and learning all the technical aspects of automobiles,” Reed said.

After completing his college education, Reed said he expects to follow in his father’s footsteps and own plenty of buses and oil trucks and maybe even his own shop one day.

“If I’m going to own (those vehicles), I might as well know how to work on them, right?” Reed said.