AIM High School senior Jack Tutt on Thursday in Snohomish. Tutt hopes to attend a technical college next year and study auto body. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

AIM High School senior Jack Tutt on Thursday in Snohomish. Tutt hopes to attend a technical college next year and study auto body. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

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Fixing cars, drumming with a rock icon, living with dyslexia

Jack Tutt once traded a drum set for a Ford Bronco. He also hung out with the drummer from Heart.

SNOHOMISH — Jack Tutt, 17, is a senior who splits his time between AIM High School and Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center, where he’s taking auto body classes. He hopes to go to Skagit Valley College and enter the Diesel Power Technology program. In his free time he plays the drums and spends even more time fixing up cars.

Question: How do you like AIM?

Answer: It’s a great school, I’ve loved going to it. It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to my education career. … Without this, there’s no way I would’ve been able to graduate. This has been my life saver here.

I’ve been here my whole high school career, through a lot of ups and downs. I have trouble comprehending and writing stuff. I have partial dyslexia.

Q: Has going to school at AIM helped?

A: Oh yeah, immensely. … This was a lot easier for me to come here and be able to slow my roll down, get focused, and not have a mountain of homework for me to do every night.

Q: What do you want to do?

A: My long-term goal is for me to be able to retire, sit in my garage and restore classic cars. Which is far-fetched, but I’m hoping it can come through. I’ve always been into the car scene. They take every penny I own.

Q: How did you get your first car?

A: I had a garage sale drum set I got for 50 bucks and I traded (it to) a guy. He was looking to get rid of his son’s Bronco. It was by far one of the worst vehicles I ever owned, but it was basically for free. I couldn’t complain. It leaked out of every seal and orifice possible, and it had holes in the floor, but it was a vehicle I could call my own.

Q: That’s so absurd. The fact that you could get a vehicle out of a drum set is so amazing.

A: Yeah, it amazed me too. I basically did nothing to the Bronco except for wash it and take the plants that were growing in the carpet out of it, and turned it around and sold it. I used the money I got from that to buy my second truck, which was a 1992 Dodge.

Q: Do you work on cars on your own?

A: I’ve never taken any of my vehicles to a shop before. I just did everything myself, which is probably why that Dodge broke down. I was just 16 when that happened; my knowledge was probably very limited to what I could do.

Q: Is there a dream car that you want?

A: Oh, you had to ask that. Yes there is. It’s the 1970 Chevelle SS big-block car. Very rare car. It was Chevy’s attempt at making a muscle car that could also be family-oriented.

Q: One day, you could get another $50 drum set and trade it up.

A: I think my luck wore out on that one. … What else you got for me?

Q: Do anything outside of cars?

A: I play drums for a hobby. I’ve been playing for about 7 years now. All self taught. I’ve taken two drum lessons the entirety of it, one of which was from the drummer for the rock band Heart. He lives around here. He came to Aim for a little drum clinic through our counselor. Me and him hit it off. He kind of took me under his wing. I got to hang out with him which was really an insane experience.

Q: What was that like?

A: He’s a very down-to-earth guy.

Q: What do you like to play on the drums?

A: I play anything from soft rock to hard rock, and everything in between, but I like to stay in the rock genre. It’s what I grew up on. My dad was a DJ for KZOK. He used to DJ all over Washington. I always grew up listening to AC/DC and Def Leppard.

I went and saw the Rolling Stones this summer, which, seeing Mick Jagger moving around like he was still in his 20s, was insane.

Q: What do you plan on doing after high school?

A: I plan on going to Skagit Valley College for their diesel program. I’m really interested in branching out in different areas of vehicle repair. It’s a practical career. It’s something different from what everyone else wants to be. I don’t want to be in a cubicle somewhere, typing away on a keyboard —

Q: Hey!

A: Nothing against that, but I’m a hands-on guy, I need to be able to move around.

Q: Can you talk about your experience with dyslexia?

A: It was very frustrating, because people at my old school didn’t know what it was like through my eyes, and what I was seeing. … I just couldn’t understand what they were saying to me, or what was being written out in front of me. It was just very difficult for me.

Q: It’s a different story at Aim?

A: It was a lot easier. Everyone understands what I’m going through here.

Q: When did you learn you have dyslexia?

A: Eighth grade I figured it out. I was writing and I was switching letters back and forth. I took some sort of ridiculous test. I scored a major high IQ. … No one expected that from this kid who was failing all of his classes and wrote weird and all that kind of stuff.

There’s always some chance that whatever’s happening to the kid that’s different is not his fault, and he can’t control it. I generate thoughts and I see the thoughts and I can’t get them out on paper.

Q: What did it feel like to learn these challenges weren’t your fault?

A: Now (it) makes sense why I can’t do this or that. I can learn how to describe it to people and manage it and find out ways around it. … It’s me, there’s nothing wrong with me.

I’m glad I found out what was going on. … The struggles I’ve gone through in my life to get to where I am now is huge. It’s this massive accomplishment to think of myself as graduating now, because there was no way I was going to graduate if I kept going the way I was going.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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