Jordan Irwin: Vehicle Modification and Auto Parts Store Worker

Posted December 17, 2014

Jordan Irwin: Vehicle Modification and Auto Parts Store Worker

A love for fast cars and risky tricks, dirt under fingernails from working, and a pride that manifests from the ability to earn something: there is something about Denver Online High School student Jordan Irwin that exemplifies the “All American Boy” marque.
The eighteen-year-old senior dreams of one day building Subaru Rally USA cars used in high speed competitions. “I’ve just always had a love for Subarus and rallying,” he said. Rally racing is where race cars scream through the mountains, primarily on dirt roads, while trying to earn the quickest time within each stage. Each stage is anywhere from one to five minutes in length with many world competitions happening in places such as Finland and Switzerland.
The senior suggests that rallying is far more dangerous than NASCAR and Formula One racing, saying, “There’s no guards on the roads. You could go off a cliff. There’s nothing to protect you or the fans.” To understand the speed that rally drivers go, check out the following link and go to the thirty second mark:


Irwin plans to start competing in amateur courses in the summer once his car is ready for the challenge. Completing all of the maintenance and modifications himself, Irwin works personally to continually increase his vehicle’s performance. He also is responsible for paying all bills associated with the vehicle, including its original purchase. “That’s one thing I do really take pride in,” he said. And it hasn’t been easy. He has worked to earn money for his hobbies since he was twelve, a humbling and valuable skill that motivates him.


Before he started really diving into modifying cars, he was an avid skateboarder. He competed in multiple competitions, including the Volcom Wild in the Parks contest, and was sponsored by a few local shops.


However, while skateboarding is fun for many young men, it also can be a little too fun, becoming a distraction from school studies. As is the case for many teenage boys, school is simply not their favorite option, wishing to be anywhere but school. That was specifically the case with Irwin. “I really just didn’t care,” he said. It was at that point that he and his family decided to transfer from the traditional brick-and-mortar school to a different option: Denver Online High School. The new learning environment became a unique way for Irwin to get back on track. While the traditional school environment left him unable to concentrate, Irwin said he is able to complete his schoolwork without distractions in the Denver Online High School lab where he attends nearly daily. He says the quiet environment, available teachers, consistent internet, and reliable computers provide the ideal atmosphere for Irwin to efficiently complete coursework. And persistent teachers, acknowledging math teacher Gilberto Palomino, who track him down when he’s behind keep him driven, saying, “I like it because he (Palomino) stays on top of it.” He is also able to finish homework at home around his car modification passion and job at an auto parts store.
He also has a new mindset. “I finally realized that I’ve got to do this if I want to move on,” acknowledging the importance of graduating high school. While that may not be the picture-perfect reason for completing schoolwork, it is a very real and honest reason for working towards graduation, a motivator for many other teenage men just like Irwin. But Irwin has also grasped the importance of a solid education, declaring that his goal after high school graduation is to attend Arapahoe Community College to complete his associate degree in the automotive technician program. He said college “betters my chances of getting a job in the field I want. If they see that I’ve went to school for it, they’ll realize that they don’t have to train me.” For a previously struggling student, that mature insight carries much value.


Irwin represents a very large body of students: students who aren’t head over heels for school; students who would rather be earning money, working on cars, or skateboarding rather than doing homework; students who are simply young men with other passions besides academics. Just like modifying cars, however, sometimes students can become more efficient and higher performing if we simply modify their learning environment. On the home stretch toward graduation, Irwin is a model example of the power that lies within the right educational path. And lucky for Denver Online High School, our team gets to be Irwin’s chanting fans at the finish line.