Aiea Team Faces Five Others At State Auto Skills Competition

The Aiea High School auto technology students will go up against five neighbor island teams this Saturday at the 2012 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition, set for 10:30 a.m. at Leeward Community College.

Instructor Edmund Okada and students Christian Salvador-Aspera and John Ubante are preparing for the hands-on showdown that tests the team’s ability to diagnose a uniformly “bugged” vehicle and properly repair it.

The competition also judges workmanship, speed and general knowledge.

Okada said there have been challenges to obtaining tech tools, funding and cars to practice on.

Nevertheless, he noted modestly, “I have pretty good students with better than average talent. We should do OK.”

Others teams are from King Kekaulike, Lahainaluna, Maui (two teams) and Waimea high schools.

The winner will compete at the national finals in June at Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

Last year a Maui team won and went on to place second at the nationals by repairing a Ford F-150 truck in 62 minutes, 42 seconds.

“It’s always so exciting to be able to encourage the students and support the automotive industry in finding the best young auto technicians who will be working on the 21st-century cars,” said Diane Peterson, regional manager for AAA Hawaii.

To qualify for the state competition, the students take an online exam, and the 10 highest scoring two-person teams step up this weekend for the state finals at LCC.

For more information, call 529-5000.