The second annual Victor Valley College High School Automotive Technician Competition was held on November 1st and received with much enthusiasm from local students and teachers.
Seven schools were represented by student technician teams — two of which were all-girl — competing in various stations and being scored by volunteer VVC auto students.
“I’m glad we’re here because it’s really preparation for the future,” said Shaun Kittrell, automotive instructor for Silver Valley High School. “We spent an hour yesterday (preparing), which helped a lot. It’s a great experience for them.”
The stations of the competition included timed tire rotation, an engine compression test, building a functional LED circuit on a breadboard, engine parts identification and two types of writing activities.
Joshua Mennicke, one of Kittrell’s students from SVHS, described the challenge of working with small, individual parts during the breadboard activity.
“You’re looking at little red and white wires and there’s a lot of tiny details,” Mennicke said. “You have to be very careful and diligent.”
The students also had to pay attention to detail while performing an interactive service writer exercise by completing a Bureau of Automotive Repair legal work order.
The seven participating schools — Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Oak Hills, Silver Valley and Sultana high schools — represented teams of about five student technicians each.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 2.1 percent of auto mechanics are female, making the two all-girl teams, from Adelanto and Hesperia high schools, especially significant.
“We have terrific automotive programs in our district, and we’re very proud of these young women for representing that so well,” said Kris Reilly, spokesman for VVUHSD. “It was wonderful to see such interest and we hope this inspires other girls who might be interested in the automotive field.”
The highest scoring student from each school was awarded with a VVC automotive uniform shirt, safety glasses and Mechanix gloves.
Oak Hills High School earned the highest cumulative school score and was awarded with an annual perpetual trophy to display until next year’s competition and a diagnostic scanner worth about $900 donated by AESwave.
OHHS automotive instructor John Boulanger said his classroom “could absolutely use” the scanner, which he described as a handheld tool that allows them to interface with and diagnose vehicles.
“I thought the competition went great,” Boulanger said. “New technology is coming out all the time so the more competitions we can participate in the better.”
Dakota Appelhof, who was the top-performing student from OHHS, said the competition was “very interesting.”
“It’s something to show off our skills and what we’ve learned,” Appelhof said. “It tested both our speed and accuracy.”
OHHS will display the trophy for a full year until VVC’s next annual High School Automotive Technician Competition.