“A decline in tool use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent. And indeed, there are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or to make them. What ordinary people once made, they buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair…” Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft
Miller School of Albemarle has a tradition of teaching young men and women the value of working with their hands–-that is knowing how to design, engineer, and build both useful and artistic objects. Samuel Miller believed that an ideal eduction includes learning advanced skills in the trades. Many of MSA’s most successful graduates have gone on to build successful businesses in the Commonwealth using these valuable skills. Today, Samuel Miller’s vision is still very much alive. MSA’s curriculum includes a pre-engineering track in which students complete three years of Design/Build, a course where they use their math and science skills to design and build projects ranging from to-scale architectural models to foot bridges and other large structures around MSA’s 1,600-acre campus.
This signature program of Miller School of Albemarle’s curriculum is woven into the Endurance Team program. Athletes learn the art of bicycle mechanics and build and repair their own bicycles in the team’s state-of-the-art bicycle repair shop, which is fully equipped with Park Tool tools. Students are able to repair just about anything in the shop–everything from a changing a flat tire to replacing an entire drive train. In addition, each athlete learns to build a bicycle from scratch. This includes learning to install headsets, cutting steer tubes, adjusting cables, etc.