GREENVILLE – This Friday marked the 14th Annual Greenville Automotive Youth Education System (AYES) and Auto Tech Awards Banquet, which is now being hailed as one of the leading auto programs in the nation.
“The tradition of excellence out of 13 years… You’ve won state 10 times and national eight times? Isn’t that outstanding?,” said Lloyd Koppes, Service Training Specialist at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. “What does that tell us about the DNA of Greenville?”
The banquet, which gathered more than 100 attendees from the surrounding automotive industry and Greenville School District, took place at the Elk’s Lodge in Greenville to a packed hall.
“I don’t know if there’s anyone here in Greenville in the automotive industry that isn’t here tonight,’ said Justin Morgan, Automotive Technology Chairman at Sinclair Community College. “I’m not sure if they shut down the community for the evening, but basically the support that this community has is second to none.”
And the support has helped not only to grow the program, but to consistently place it as one of the most competitive auto tech programs in the United States.
The Greenville Auto Tech program has enjoyed an ongoing record of success with eight national awards over their existence. The program most recently took first during their national championships in 2009, and came in first in Ohio in 2012.
“Our automotive technology programs is one of the best programs, I feel, in the entire country,” said Greenville High School Career Technical Director David Peltz, who spoke about the program’s integrating advice from the local automotive industry into everyday curriculum.
“I want to applaud Greenville High School because they are one of the few schools in the nation that has adopted this concept and its put them at the front of the class,” said Darrell Parks, Educational Consultant at National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
“Not only do you have to have the hand skills, but you’ve got to have the head skills as well. That’s where the integrated academics come into play”said Parks. “Because with the sophisticated technology that we have in the automotive industry today, without the ability to think and problem solve and apply essential math and science as it relates to that technology, it’s going to make you stand apart from those who can’t.”
Friday’s theme was entitled, “Partnership in Training the Automotive’s Industry’s Work Force of Tomorrow,” which the successful program has accomplished throughout its history.
“The success has come from the support of the community, from the administration at the school and all the local partnerships,” said Auto Technology Instructor Travis Nicholas. “And the community helps us so much with our projects. Whatever we need they usually give it to us.”
The Automotive Youth Education System program was designed to lead young adults into the retail automotive service centers. The program focuses on placing students at an early age into dealer establishments so that the businesses and professionals can pass on their knowledge and visions to the next generation.
“We do more than just teach students. There’s so much involved for them to go into the industry,” said Nicholas.
Taking special recognition over the course of the banquet were several auto dealers, employers and teachers which have been instrumental to the program, including Jim Troutwine of Troutwine Auto Sales, Rob Weidner of Greenville City Schools Transportation, Nick Combs of Hittle Buick GMC, Ron Fair of Schultz Motors, Kris Tegtmeyer of O’Reilly Auto Parts and Scott Rowland of Rowland Trucking.
Also recognized during the ceremony was last year’s second place state-winning team of Alison Richardson, Rachael Mann, and Joey Wappelhorst.
Concluding the banquet were Rachael Mann, Kelsey McClure, and Joey Wappelhorst presenting this year’s Auto Tech program’s project for the first time in public.
The presentation centered on a vehicle’s power train, which is the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle.
Although the display was worth several hundreds of dollars, the cost to the program only totaled about $50 due to community and industry support.
“That’s indicative of the support that you have of the school administration, board of education, to our guidance counselors, to our teachers, to the local businesses and industry,” said Peltz.
The group will compete at Sinclair Community College on April 11 for an automotive showcase, and on April 15 they’ll compete in Columbus at the state level.
If the group comes in first at the state championship they proceed onto nationals, which are held in Kansas City in July.