Students at the Shenandoah Valley Governor's School are taking their first steps toward becoming engineers - and it's all thanks to a few junky cars.

The students are turning the old clunkers into electric racing cars.

Hunter McCray just applied to the engineering program at Virginia Tech. His desire to pursue that career started in the shop.

"It's always been something in the back of my mind that I thought I might want to do but this really locked it down for me," McCray, a senior, said.

McCray is one of a dozen students in the Introduction to Electric Vehicle Engineering class at the Shenandoah Valley Governor's School. Instead of sitting behind desks, students learn hands on.

"The way we do it is everything that's in the car was designed by students," said Byron Grove-Humphries, a course instructor.

Students junk the wiring, radiators, mufflers and motor and then start from scratch to transform them into electric racing cars. It's all about problem solving, understanding electricity, and teamwork.

"Sam and I, another student, completely rebuilt this controller in less than four hours at a competition so I mean it was really something remarkable," McCray said.

Once the cars are finished students take them for a spin. Last year the class went to North Carolina to race against other high schools.

The group will do whatever it takes to complete the projects - even if that means turning scraps into car parts.

"If a piece of structural aluminum in particular like an aluminum angle iron or something like that will be laying anywhere being thrown away, you know we will grab it," said Grove-Humphries.

The students are working on two cars right now. This spring, they'll head to Miami to race them.