Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Cerritos holds auto competition for future technicians

Ten L.A. county high school seniors were asked to test their automotive skills in a race against the clock last Saturday at the 11th Annual LA County Auto Tech Competition.

The event, sponsored by the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association (SMCDA) and the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association (GLANCDA), was hosted by Cerritos College’s Automotive Technology Department and determined the two winning teams who will compete at this year’s National Automotive Technology Competition in New York’ set take place in April.’

This year’s winners were Southeast Regional Occupational Program’s Alejandro Torres and Juan Prado accompanied by their instructor Abel Ponce, and Evan Weller and Dylan Landy with their instructor John Andersen from Aguora High School.’

‘We were excited and happy enough winning the team award, but to win overall is a great accomplishment,’ said Southeast ROP instructor Abel Ponce.’

Winner Alejandro Torres was relieved and is looking forward to travelling to New York.’ ‘This is great for our last year of high school.’ It’s time to hit the books,’ Torres said.

Schools that participated in the competition were Aguora, Artesia, Canyon, Highland, La Habra, Lynwood, Sonora, Southeast ROP, Van Nuys, and Venice.

Both the SMCDA and the GLANCDA sponsored five teams each, consisting of two of the most skilled students in each school’s automotive education department.’

Competing teams were accompanied by an instructor as well as parents and others who wished to provide moral support through out the event.’

Karen Landy, who accompanied her son Dylan Landy from Aguora High School, was glad she attended to see her son win first place.’ ‘It’s very exciting and we’re so proud of him.’ It’s a wonderful program because it helps a lot of kids get into the job market,’ she said.’

High school instructors present at the event wanted to make sure students gained the most out of the experience.’ Monrovia High School instructor Phil Jelinek stressed the importance of providing early preparation to students who are interested in attending trade school after graduating as opposed to conventional four-year institutions.’

‘These events are essential because they open up [high] schools to colleges in the area that teach automotive technology.’ Sometimes high schools place too much stress on the A-G curriculum when not every [student] is going to a UC school,’ said Jelinek.

The semi-final leg of the competition required each team to complete several tasks at 10 different stations in 12-minute intervals.’ Once each identification, measurement, and repair task was completed, teams submitted worksheets to station judges for scoring.’

Highland team seniors and 2nd place winners Eddie Aquilina and Alyssa Salazar admitted to enjoying themselves despite being nervous.’ ‘It’s fun, but we just want to do well,’ they said.

Employees from sponsoring dealerships oversaw competition proceedings and served as judges.’ ‘ Guest Judge Tom Rosdahl from Pierce College directed students at Station 2- Measuring Cylinder Bore and Piston Skirt and used the event as an opportunity to network with future college students as well as prospective employers for his own students.’ ‘It’s good to see what’s going on in high schools and meet and talk to teachers.’ These skills competitions are important because they give recognition to students and schools,’ Rosdahl said.’

Volunteer judges from nearby dealerships took advantage of the opportunity to get to know California’s future automotive technicians.’

Competition Judge Billy Stewart from Longo Toyota said ‘it’s very important to build relationships with high schools and community colleges and to see what the industry is leading to.’ We take it very seriously.’

As host, Cerritos’ Automotive Technology Department provided students with cars, machinery, and tools to work with which have all been donated by outside manufacturers.

After the competition, students, instructors, and guests attended the Awards Luncheon while the judges scored students’ work.’ The winners, in order of being announced, were:
5th place
Lynwood HS- Students Osvaldo Jimenez and Abraham Trujillo with instructor George Luna (SMCDA)
Venice HS- Students Justin Scott and Jonathan Campos with instructor Babak ‘Bob’ Azadi (GLANCDA)
4th place
Artesia HS- Students Emily Rodriguez and Jayvon Williams with instructor Marty Supple (SMCDA)
Canyon HS- Students Taylor Berry and Randall Shelden with instructor Peter Ciccone (GLANCDA)
3rd place
Sonora HS- Students Cody Loomis and Jerome Leung with instructor David Endo (SMCDA)
Van Nuys HS- Students Ruben Garcia and Lissette Hasbun with instructor Joe Agruso (GLANCDA)
2nd place
La Habra HS- Students Randall Evans and Alex Soto with instructor David Endo (SMCDA)
Highland HS- Students Alyssa Salazar and Eddie Aquilina with instructor Dan Brown (GLANCDA)
1st place
Southeast ROP- Students Alejandro Torres and Juan Prado with instructor Abel Ponce (SMCDA)
Aguora HS- Students Evan Weller and Dylan Landy with instructor John Andersen (GLANCDA)

Aside from walking away with a plaque, bag of complimentary prizes provided by MATCO Tools, and noteworthy prizes such as a set of 2-drawer wheel carts for the winning team, students also received applications for the CNCDA’s Scholarship and an internship opportunity at a sponsoring dealership.

With this year’s competition behind them, facilitators at Cerritos’ Technology Division are looking forward to hosting next year’s event and more at the division expansion currently under construction.’ ‘We are definitely looking forward to next year.’ We’ll see if we can get some different kinds of activities going,’ said Amna Jara Program Facilitator for the Southland/Cerritos Center for Transportation Technologies.’ ‘Due to [the school’s] location, we’ve attracted the attention of several corporations in the greater LA area,’ she added.

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Rebeca Vega, Staff Writer
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Cerritos holds auto competition for future technicians