On Friday, April 27, Northview High School senior Hunter Collins and junior Eli Topie were the first high school automotive team to get the engine of a "bugged" 2012 Ford Fusion to ignite during the Ford AAA Student Skills Competition.
"When we first got there, the car wouldn't crank," Collins explained. "Then, we got it cranking, and it wouldn't start. When we finally got it to start, then we had to get all the bugs worked out."
Topie said he was surprised by how large of a competition the event turned out to be, and he had a fun time.
"Before we got started, we laid out all of tools and read the work order to help us prepare for the tasks," Topie said.
"The car wouldn't start, didn't run well; the windows didn't work; the air conditioning didn't work; the headlights and turn signals didn't work. We had to replace blown and bad fuses, and there was a coil pack unplugged."
Collins and Topie are both students in Tony Migliorini's Automotive Technology course.
"You have to get the car started because you have to drive it to the judging," Migliorini said. "It was pretty exciting when we finally heard it start up."
The competition took place in Indianapolis at the Hertz rent-a-car building, next to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is where the participating students and teachers stayed.
To qualify to compete in the Ford competition, the students had to complete a written test and achieve a score ranking among the top 10 schools in Indiana.
While at the competition, three out of 10 student teams were able to debug their Fusion perfectly, one of which was the Northview team.
Judges then, had to decide the placements of the teams according to a written test.
"The first-place team, South Adams, scored an 81, and our team scored a 71," Migliorini said. "It was 10 points between first and third-place; that's how close it was."
Both Collins and Topie received scholarship offers from the University of Ohio, the Ford Asset Program, Lincoln Technical Institute, University of Technical Institute and others, with the offer totaling approximately $26,000 per student.
"I still have no clue where I'm going yet because there were scholarships to a lot of different places," Topie said.
"Obviously the students will only get the scholarship from the school they choose to attend," Migliorini said. "On Monday, Clint Plumer from the Ford Asset program is coming to talk to my students to try to recruit one of them for their program."
Ford wants to send one of these young men in Migliorini's class to work for a Ford dealership for eight weeks, then attend a Ford school for eight weeks and then alternate between the two.
Migliorini said the dealership would pay for the students schooling, and he said the student would be announced at a later date.
In addition, Migliorini's class will host an open house Thursday, May 10, from 4-6:30 p.m.
"We just want to showcase what the kids have done and let the community know we're here," Migliorini said. "They've worked hard and studied hard, and this past weekend was one of the highlights of my entire career. I just want them to know I'm proud of them."
Migliorini added he wanted to thank Bob Bowen Ford, Brazil, for letting his class borrow a Ford Fusion to help the students practice, study and work to prepare for the competition.