Many seniors at Elk Grove are involved with extracurricular activities that maintain a high level of influence in their lives. This is true for seniors such as Adam Labno.
Labno’s deep passion for cars and Elk Grove High School’s automotive program has shaped his passion and character. It first started when Labno started taking classes for the automotive program in his sophomore year, and from there, it grew into a deep passion for cars and a desire to go into the automotive industry.
“It’s made me realize I wanna do something automotive,” Labno said. “I think it’s definitely made me a more hands on go-getter person.”
Earlier in the semester, Labno took a test for SkillsUSA, an organization that works with 395,000 high schools, middle schools and colleges and their trade, technical and other skilled service occupations. This also includes autos.
About 300 students took this test for SkillsUSA in Illinois, according to Labno. What makes them unique is that the students choose the subject on which they will take their test. Labno had chosen automotive service and technology, and out of all the students competing, Labno ranked 23rd overall.
Those who ranked in the top 45 went on to compete in the Civics Center.
“I think it’s his willingness to learn and his reliability,” automotives teacher Jeff “Z” Zdenovec said.
As the teacher for Elk Grove High’s automotive courses, Zdenovec recognizes how much of an effort Labno puts into the automotives program.
“He strives for excellence,” he said of Labno. “He is always wanting to learn more about autos and life.”
Zdenovec said Labno’s character can best be described as professional. He noted how Labno takes his automotive courses very seriously and puts in his best effort.
“He started out not being able to lift a car frame contact or change oil. Now he’s really troubleshooting and fixing cars,” Zdenovec said.
Reflecting on his experience overall in high school, Labno said he recognizes his gains from over the years.
“I’ve definitely grown a lot emotionally and physically. I’ve gotten through hard times, but those moments made me a stronger person,” Labno said.
As for his passion with cars, Labno said that while it has a big presence in his life, it doesn’t fully represent his whole personality.
“I’m more than just a car guy and someone who went to compete in Peoria,” Labno said. “I play video games, I work out at the gym, I spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends. Cars do take up a lot of my time, but it doesn’t fully define who I am.”
Overall, Labno has become a person who learned when to get the job done, and he thanks his effort with the automotive program for that.
“As a person, I used to not take much responsibility,” Labno said. “With cars you can’t wait for others to do your job. Autos shaped me to be more of that go-getter person and do those hard jobs sometimes.”