Texico students overhaul trailer for area resident

Courtesy photo: Terry Whitener Texico senior Logan Garner works to remove rusted metal from the frame of the trailer at the beginning of the project.

Liliana Castillo

Texico Municipal School’s agriculture mechanics department spent six weeks doing a total overhaul on a trailer for Texico graduate Kip DeFoor.

The trailer belonged to DeFoor’s grandfather and after 20 years of letting weeds grow up through it, DeFoor suggested that his friend Terry Whitener’s class rebuilt it as a class project.

They stripped it down to its rotten skeleton and worked as a team to bring it back.

Whitener said the trailer was in “all shades of disarray” and the class brought it up to better condition than new.

Whitener said the class of about 30 learned numerous skills and techniques in the process of rebuilding the trailer.

He said the students learned how to build to specifics for an owner as well as doing a cost estimate for a rebuild.

“The kids also see the benefit of rebuilding instead of purchasing something new,” Whitener said.

The students also learned how to shape and fabricate with bent and crooked pieces.

“It’s all about experience,” Whitener said.

Students also came up with a design that was agreed on by the group.

“By doing that, they get to see if their designs really work or not,” Whitener said.

On the technical side, Whitener said the students used algebra, fractions, angles and physics to create the rebuilt trailer. He said the hands-on experience is invaluable for the students.

Texico junior Powers Hangler said as a boy who lives and grew up on a farm, rebuilding the trailer was nothing new for him.

“I build stuff at home all the time,” Hangler said. “Living on a farm, you have to be a jack of all trades.”

Hangler said he enjoyed working on the project with a group.

“I thought it was neat that he had enough confidence in us that we could save it (the trailer),” Hangler said.

Senior Logan Garner said he also grew up on a farm but he learned a lot in the process of rebuilding the trailer. He said he learned how to repair rotted material and place an axle. He also enjoyed working as a team on the trailer.

“Everyone got to do different stuff instead of one person doing it all,” he said.

Garner said he enjoyed preserving DeFoor’s memory of his grandfather.

“It’s nice that we could integrate the new and old,” Garner said.

Whitener said students were graded individually on the project on work ethics, production, safety and design.

DeFoor, a teacher in Portales, said the work on the trailer was professional.

“It’s that good. It’s as good as any factory trailer I’ve ever seen,” he said.

DeFoor said he wasn’t surprised as the high level of work because he’s seen Whitener’s shop in action.

“I’ve never seen a better run shop and ag department than Texico. They’re a great group of boys. Terry’s doing a super job over there,” he said.