Two Fremd High School Students Earn First Place, National Competition Spot at State Auto Skills Competition

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Curtis Robinson (right), junior, and Samuel Robar, senior, took part in the Ford/AAA Autoskills competition at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., on May 8.  The team placed first in the competition by repairing all of the faults installed in their 2015 Ford Fiesta.

Curtis Robinson (right), junior, and Samuel Robar (left), senior, took part in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., on May 8. The team placed first in the competition by repairing all of the faults installed in their 2015 Ford Fiesta.

Two students from Fremd High School earned the top spot in an auto skills competition and will compete at the national level in June.

Curtis Robinson, junior, and Samuel Robar, senior, took part in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., on May 8. The team placed first in the competition by repairing all of the faults installed in their 2015 Ford Fiesta.

Students will advance to the National level on June 7 – 10 in Michigan on the front lawn of Ford Motor Company and each earned scholarships and various awards for their efforts.

“The cars have 10 to 15 ‘bugs’ that we need to find and repair in 90 minutes and then drive across the finish line,” said Curtis. “Now we are practicing for the written exam for the national level, which is basically like an ACT for automotive, and then we will do the hands-on competition again. We are practicing, studying, and next week we will be practicing on a 2015 Mustang, which is what I believe we will be working on at the national competition.”

Ten teams compete at the state level. All 10 Ford Fiesta’s are brand new, and are bugged, meaning faults are installed. Students have ninety minutes to repair the car and drive it across the finish line. Fremd’s car was the fourth to cross the finish line, but this competition weighs heavily on accuracy. Fremd was the only vehicle to cross the finish line with all repairs completed with a “clean car.” Both Curtis and Sam were awarded $34,500 in scholarships, a full set of tools from NAPA, and a code reader from Bosch Corporation.

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Samuel Robar (right) and Curtis Robinson (left) pose with their first place trophy and FHS Applied Technology Teacher Steve Elza at the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition.

During the competition, Curtis and Samuel worked on two different parts of the car – Curtis was interior and Samuel was exterior. What Curtis said was nice about this was the ability to consult with one another to solve a problem.

“We divide and conquer to get our stuff done, but it is really nice to have someone else there because when you don’t know the answer you can talk to them and get their input on the problem,” he said.

Team sponsor and applied technology teacher Steve Elza said he is looking forward to the national competition and his students opportunity to compete against teams from each state.

“It’s an amazing sight to see 50 vehicles lined up, all bugged identically, battling for the first perfect ‘clean car’,” Elza said. “Not only do these students receive scholarships and tools, but also the connections that they make are priceless. Students meet make connections at Ford Motor Company, AAA Motor Club, NAPA, Bosch, and many more that would love to employ these students in their companies.”