Dual Enrollment Students, Instructor, Place First at Auto Tech Competition

Five Cypress College Dual Enrollment students took top prize at a county-wide automotive technology competition last Saturday, March 23, and earned their instructor an award, too. The Orange County Automobile Dealers Association 26th Annual Technology Competition pitted 14 teams of high school students against each other in several categories at Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, and offered thousands of dollars in prizes.

Five students from Western High School, who take Automotive Technology courses at Cypress College as part of the Dual Enrollment program, won First Place. Additionally, adjunct instructor David Endo, who worked and prepared the winning team, was granted the OCADA Teacher of the Year award.

The winning team, pictured with the car they get to bring back to the Cypress Auto Tech shop. Top row, left to right: Sergio Salgardo, David Endo, Andy Salgado. Bottom row: Jorge Torres, Andrew Campos, Salvador Ramos.

Prizes include more than $11,000 in Snap-On Tools and over $30,000 in scholarships, according to OCADA. The winning team also got to take a 2018 Hyundai back to their classroom shop for training purposes.

Auto Technology instructor Russel Bacarella taught the Western students in their Automotive Fundamentals class and was proud of their success.

“They’re competing with kids who have had as much as three, four years of experience,” Bacarella said. “They’ve had about a class and a half. They’ve done very well considering the time they’ve had to work with.”

The Dual Enrollment students competed against high schools such as Mission Viejo High School, Irvine High School, Loara High School, Katella High School, Buena Park High School, Rancho Alamitos High School, and those in Santiago Canyon, many of which have their own auto tech department, Bacarella says.

“It makes us feel like we are doing a pretty good job here, and hitting on the necessities,” Bacarella said. “There seems to be a gap between leaving high school and entering the workplace, and we’re doing the job of filling it in.”

Students were tested on theory and practical applications in several categories. Some of the tasks included electrical repairs, brake-related workstations, an online safety test, a suspension identification, and diagnosing engine mechanical failure. A STEM element asked competitors to construct and repair electrical circuits.

Cypress College instructors Dave Endo, Russ Bacarella, and Michael Klyde participated in planning meetings for the competition. In addition, Bacarella was the event chair; Endo was a team leader; Kelley and Klyde did separate two-hour seminars to help prepare the participants; and Beard and Klyde were event judges.

Cypress College’s own High School Auto Competition took place March 16 and included 14 teams of high school students putting their automotive technology education to the test. Tasks given to the two-person teams fell into six skills stations: tire rotation; brake rotor runout measurement; engine component measurement; scan tool operation; series circuits; and parallel circuits.

The top-place teams in the annual spring competition were:

  1. Western High School Team 1/Dual Enrollment
  2. Rancho Alamitos Team 1
  3. Western High School Team 2/Dual Enrollment
  4. Oxford/Kennedy All female team/Dual Enrollment

Other teams included Katella High School, Loara High School, Buena Park High School, and Santiago High School.

“What a great event! I’m so proud of our winners,” said Elizabeth Ovesen, adjunct counselor. She also extended “a special thank you to our wonderful instructors for their support and guidance.”

Prizes were donated by Mac Tools, Hedman Hedders, and K&N Performance Air Filters. The competition committee was made up of Russ Bacarella, Mike Beard, and Paul Kelly, and the support staff was Cypress College’s own automotive students.