STEP students take top honors in automotive contest

Anoka-Hennepin Secondary Technical Education Program students pounded the competition in the automotive service technology portion of the SkillsUSA Championships last month.

Overall, seniors Logan Bright, Kaleb Purdes and Jonathen Bilek claimed first, second and third place, respectively.

Seniors Logan Bright, Kaleb Purdes and Jonathen Bilek won first, second and third place in the automotive service technology portion of the SkillsUSA contest last month. Submitted photo

Seniors Logan Bright, Kaleb Purdes and Jonathen Bilek won first, second and third place in the automotive service technology portion of the SkillsUSA contest last month. Submitted photo

Bright walked away with a $10,000 scholarship that he plans to put toward an education in diesel technologies at the Universal Technical Institute in Chicago.

Purdes and Bilek also won sizeable scholarships to further their education.

The competition asks students to take a written test and go through a mock job interview before demonstrating their knowledge in five areas: engine performance; steering, suspension and brakes; electronic service information; precision measurement; and electronics and charging systems.

Automotive classes at STEP prepared students for the win, Bright said. “It was a lot of stuff we learned in class.”

Bright’s been taking automotive classes from Chuck Edstrom for the last two years. He decided to attend STEP after his sister took advantage of nursing classes there and many of his friends took firefighting classes.

“It’s high school in a college environment … that’s why I love it there,” Bright said.

Edstrom sees between 120 and 150 students in his automotive classes each year. The course offerings are “extremely valuable for students that have really identified a path already,” he said.

Bright will advance to the National SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo. this June.

The SkillsUSA competition invites career and technical education students at the college and high school level to compete in a variety of fields.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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