GREAT FALLS — If you think a place like an automotive classroom, or working in the trades in general, is something only for men there are some female students at Great Falls High School who would prove you wrong.
Their work in the classroom is not only providing them with valuable experience but it's sending a valuable message, especially during Women's History Month.
"These are where the pistons go, yeah," Great Falls High senior Emma Edwards said as she, junior Mariyah Hicks, and junior Brooklynn Newsom chatted while looking over an engine in the high school's automotive classroom.
If you spend a little time with the students, it's easy to feel inspired.
"I have seen many, many people come through this class, many of which are girls, so I find that very inspiring because you can see their work ethic and their hard grinding just to do what they love. I think that's very motivational," Hicks said.
"Being able to see more women in a field that (they're not usually seen in) makes me feel excited working in it in the future," said Newsom.
"I know since I've been in a shop class I'm pretty sure i was the only female in my power tech class, my auto class, and now in my ASE class I'm still the only female," said Edwards.
Edwards and Newsom are president and vice president respectively of Skills USA in Montana and Edwards is also the only female in Great Falls racing cars.
"This is about my fourth year I think racing the cars," Edwards said.
"We are often pushed to the bottom, pushed to the side and told we cannot do this because we are women. But I would say especially now in time right now this is wonderful," said Hicks. "This is very impactful I would say because it not only prepares future generations but also lets the past generations know that we're doing this because you guys have set aside the time and dignity and power to make the path for us."
Newsom said pursuing a career in a male-dominated field can be intimidating, but she's not about to let that stop her.
"You've just got to be able to put your foot down and understand that we may be somewhat of the minority in the field but we're not the minority in our brains or the work that we do," said Newsom.
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