Dexter High School students Adrian Zambrano and William Hagelstein practice their automotive technology skills on a vehicle at ENMU-R in preparation for the Ford AAA Student Auto Skills Competition in Albuquerque this Saturday. (Courtesy Photo)
With only 90 minutes on the clock, two Dexter High School students will attempt to fix electrical problems and replace faulty car parts in a 2013 Ford Focus SE at the Ford AAA Student Auto Skills Competition in Albuquerque on Saturday.
After taking a written exam in February and scoring as one of the top 10 teams from New Mexico, junior Adrian Zambrano and senior William Hagelstein will compete at the state level for a chance to go to Dearborn, Mich., to compete at the national level.
“What I do hope for my students is to have what we call a perfect car,” said ENMU-Roswell automotive technology instructor Eric Gomez. “That means they’ve fixed every problem on the vehicle so that they can win first place at state and get the chance to go to Dearborn, Mich., to compete against the rest of the nation.”
Zambrano and Hagelstein are receiving dual credit through the Automotive Technology program at ENMU-R, and have had the opportunity to practice their automotive skills on a 2013 Focus donated to the university by Roswell’s Ford dealership.
The high school students will be competing against other two-person teams made up of 11th- and 12th-grade students.
The winning team from each state will receive scholarships, tools, awards and the trip to the National Finals at the Ford Motor Headquarters, all expenses paid.
Gomez said his favorite part for the students is that they get to have real world experience fixing real car problems. Just competing at the state level will open up job opportunities with Ford dealers and other sponsoring organizations in need of automotive technicians.