Two teams from the Automotive Program at Thomas Edison CTE High School in Jamaica earned first and third place at the regional National Automotive Technology Competition in Queens last week advancing to the next round.
The four seniors from Thomas Edison — located at 165-65 84th Ave. — demonstrated their skills as automotive technicians Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the Center for Automotive Education and Training at 15-30 Petracca Pl. in Whitestone.
Team red — Daniel Castro and Roshan Samad won first place; and Team Blue — Jordy Castro and Lazaro Isidoro won third place.
“The competition so far has been a really fun, exciting experience,” said Lazaro. “We are more motivated than ever to keep learning and doing our best to hopefully go on to nationals and win it all.”
The nationally recognized competition, was developed in 1993 by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association to help curb the shortage of qualified automotive technicians and raise the level of vocational education standards in the public school system.
40 students from 20 different teams in Career Technical Education (CTE) school programs, raced against the clock repairing car engines and other key vehicle operating systems.
Four teams from New York City and three teams from Westchester/Rockland will move on to the second round in the competition — which will take place Feb. 12 — competing against other regional winners from Long Island in an effort to be the Greater New York representative at the National Auto Technology Competition.
The finals, in which over $3 million in prizes and scholarships is at stake, will be judged before a live audience at the 2019 New York International Auto Show in April.
“Witnessing my students’ hard work pay off was extremely exciting,” said Miguel Sierra, who teaches the three-year Automotive Technology Shop. “Seeing them do well in the first round was a wonderful feeling because I know how much time they have dedicated to being successful, both in the competition and for their future in the industry.”
After the results were announced, each of the regional winners drew the name of a car manufacturer, which will donate a car for the students to study and work on in advance of the Feb. 12 New York finals.
Castro and Samad selected a Chevrolet; Isidoro and Castro selected a Lexus.
“Right now what we need is a really strong partnership with dealerships because the vehicles we’re going to work on, those are brand new vehicles that we don’t have in the school,” said Sierra. “So for us to get exposure to those vehicles we do have to look out for and take advantage of any help we can get from dealerships.
Sierra said the competition helps them better prepare their students for a career as an auto technician.
“The people that put together the competition are industry dealerships, so those dealerships pretty much want certain skills for technicians that are coming into thosw positions. These competitions really put to the test to see if we as a school are preparing our students properly,” said Sierra.
Looking ahead to the next competition in February, Sierra said it’ll be tough but the top students competing will apply the knowledge they learned in class.