Alhambra, Las Lomas High School Students Claim Top Two Spots at State Auto Skills Competition

May 9, 2014 17:00 pm · 13 comments

Best in state!

A two-student team from Alhambra High School ROP in Martinez overcame some stiff competition to take first place in the Northern California AAA/Ford Auto Skills Competition finals. The Alhambra High school team winners of today’s California competition beat Southern California students competing in a separate contest and received the highest score statewide. They will represent California in the national contest to be held June in Dearborn, Michigan.

Students Sanveer Garcha and Alfredo Gutierrez of the Northern California division of the statewide competition won first place, taught by instructor Brian Wheeler. Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek students Miles Millan and Sam Thomas-Saindon, taught by instructor Steve Boone, took second place. Students Cody Crafts and Erricson Stevens, taught by instructor Mitch Crowden, of Casa Robles High School in Orangevale, came in third. The top teams receive a total of $133,000 in scholarship opportunities from some of the nation’s top technical schools as well as a variety of other prizes from AAA.

“AAA values this program as a way to help position students to advance their education and become automotive technicians,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “As the top auto technology students in Northern California, these students deserve the opportunity to become the best-trained professional automotive technicians and enjoy personally satisfying and well-compensated careers that are beneficial to the motoring public.”

The state championship was determined by a combination of results from a written qualifying exam and from the team’s ability to quickly and accurately repair a deliberately disabled vehicle. Team scores were evaluated from a hands-on competition held at BlackHawk Auto Museum in the city of Danville. This event is designed to find the most talented young auto technicians in the U.S.

The California contest was one of 50 state competitions being held during April and May.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition will award more than $10 million in scholarships at the state and national level combined and is held to encourage students to pursue rewarding career opportunities in automotive service.

AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4.1 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 114 years ago.

Atticus Thraxx May 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Sweet. Good job fellas. A good mechanic, excuse me……a good automotive technician is worth their weight in gold.

Goody May 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Good news to end the week.

EdiBirsan May 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Great show for the community. Best of luck to them all.

Good for them! May 9, 2014 at 5:28 PM

It seems that working on cars is becoming a lost art these days.

I’ve been a mechanic all my life and, while I never got rich, I’ve never been out of work and I’ve managed to make a pretty decent living. I own a nice house and I put three kids through college.

There may not be a lot of prestige in what I do, but there’s certainly no shame in it, either.

WOW! May 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

This is the right direction for education .
Not every student wants a “college”
education. When we appreciate those careers
that require mechanical skills as we have in the
past, we can get back to the jobs that built this
Country in the first place. Only this time pay them
fairly and give the workers the credit they deserve
instead of letting the intellectual elite treat us
as slaves.

Cowellian May 9, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Well Done!

Michelle May 9, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Congratulations! Very well done! 🙂

I'm The Urban Spaceman May 9, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Kudos to both Students and Teachers…way to represent our communities.

waverunner May 9, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Absolutely becoming a lost art because everyone thinks that college is the answer for everyone, even though graduates can’t get jobs after putting in all that time and money. We are losing experienced trades-people and need to encourage young people who have these skills.

Pro Fi May 9, 2014 at 6:18 PM

AWESOME JOB! I am so excited to see their hard work rewarded. It takes a lot of time, energy, motivation and dedication to achieve something like that.

(Hoping next year to see some young women on those teams!)

ClayDen May 9, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Great job! I competed in this waaaay back when it was sponsored by Chrysler. I ultimately got an FAA aircraft mechanics license (airframe and powerplant), though I never worked as one. I got an engineering degree and spent my career as an aerospace engineer. However, the skills I learned in high school auto shop sure helped out when I was younger (especially the poor married college student part). Too bad it’s not an elective at all of our high schools. Additionally, the skills I learned in auto shop and as part of my aircraft mechanic training made me a better engineer.

ex-californian May 10, 2014 at 6:53 AM

Great story! (And kudos to the students and their teachers!)

Did the hands-on part of the competition begin with the announcement “Ladies and gentlemen—start your engines–IF you can!” ?

cs May 10, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Way to go, Alhambra! Brian Wheeler is an incredible teacher. His dedication shines through in the success of his program. He and his students work hard and deserve the award they’ve received!

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