Two Cherokee High School students took fourth place among 10 teams Friday in an automotive skills competition presnted by Chattahoochee Technical College.
Ten teams from throughout the state raced against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair a “bugged” 2013 Ford Focus SE.
Though Cherokee students David Gravley and Dustin Walker finished first, they missed one element of the repairs leading them to take the fourth-place finish. It’s a notable accomplishment since Gravley competed with a broken arm at the event, held at NAPA Genuine Parts Company’s Wildwood Complex in Marietta. Gravley did much of the work one-handed while Walker completed tasks requiring both hands.
“The two worked well together and really showed great teamwork,” said Chattahoochee Tech Instructor and Technical Competition Manager Kevin Ruby. “That kind of teamwork is a vital skill in the automotive industry.”
Cherokee automotive instructor Mike Hagen said he was “very impressed” with how well the team did and their quick finish time, making the Warrior Nation proud of their accomplishments. The high school competition was also sponsored by Ford and AAA.
“This competition is for juniors and seniors in high school automotive programs,” Ruby said. “The top 10 teams are determined by taking a written exam on automotive knowledge — the 10 highest scores of the two-student teams are invited to a hands-on competition.”
Sixteen Chattahoochee Technical College students served as line judges and timekeepers during the competition, while others worked with the parts department, quality assurance and as general runners. All students are in the automotive repair technology program at Chattahoochee Technical College’s Marietta, North Metro or Appalachian campuses.
Thomason High School and Technical Institute took top honors with second- and third-place teams from Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville. The Thomason team will go on to compete in the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 9-11.