WASHINGTON—Two students from Hawaii won the 2000 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills contest, garnering $71,149 worth of scholarships and prizes in the process.
Steven Garrard and David Sharp, both 17 and students at Maui High School in Kahului, Hawaii, completed repairs on their 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis in 34:51 minutes, a full minute ahead of the second-place team in the June 19 contest held in Washington.
Ford Motor Co., co-sponsoring the event with the American Automobile Association (AAA), provided 50 identically "bugged" Grand Marquis automobiles. Contestants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Argentina, Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico were judged 40 percent on a written exam given June 18, and 60 percent on the June 19 competition in which students were graded on how many problems with the vehicles they found and how quickly they repaired them.
Timothy DeBoer, 18, and Scott Ussing, 19, from Vale High School in Vale, Ore., placed second in this year's competition, while Brian Schema and Jon Monson, both 18, from Faribault High School in Faribault, Minn., placed third. Argentina scored highest among the international competitors, according to AAA.
U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show that since 1989, more than 15,000 trained automotive technicians have been retiring annually—contributing to a current shortage estimated at 60,000 techs. Data indicate there are 30,000 job openings for techs annually.