I learned how to take photos with a Rolleiflex and hand-held light meter. But the world has spun around a time or two since then. I don't know why anybody would tell people to start on auto but this is a do-it-now, do-it-easy, is-there-an-ap-for-that era.
SOME high schools and colleges are starting folks out on fully manual mechanical cameras and are always scrounging around for donations of "real" cameras that are in good shape. We should support that. I think there should be a thread for that.