Car mechanics are no longer called grease monkeys. Today they are referred to as computer technicians.
And 20 of the best Utah high school computer technicians competed Thursday in an automotive contest at Weber State College.Bonneville High School in Ogden came up winner and the school received a new Buick Regal. But nobody can drive it. The new vehicle can be used only for work in automotive classes.
The two Bonneville students who won the contest and the car for their school, Robert Zubal and Kelly Sanchez, were received $1,300 worth of tools. The alternate student representing Bonneville was Darin Cain.
Ten schools made the final round of the Buick-Weber State College Automotive Contest. In the finals, two team members from each school had to work on cars to get the bugs out.
General Motors has a mechanic training program at the college and GM representative Russel Weik said the company sponsors such contests to train good mechanics.
"We're interested in the top students in Utah for our automotive training program. We hope our dealer network hires them," he said. "Successful repairs make happy customers."
Last month, more than 250 students from 26 high schools participated in the written portion on the competition. Sixteen schools were eliminated and the top 20 students went on to the final round of the hands-on portion.
One female student made it to the final round as an alternate. Joycelyn Sheppick, 17, of Hillcrest High School in Midvale, said she plans to make a career out of auto mechanics.
"I started (working on cars) when I was little, helping my dad," she said.
When she got into high school, she decided to take classes in auto mechanics and was good enough to make it to the finals.
Sheppick said she has always been fascinated by auto mechanics and the technology behind it because it "stretches" her brain.
She added that she can keep her boyfriend happy by working on his car, because what's underneath a hood is a mystery to him.
Others who competed in the final competition and the alternates were Mark Eggett, Stephen Buhler and Shaun Dudley, American Fork; Andrew Paskett, Darin Johnson and Burke Smith, Bountiful; Matt Becherer, Mark Kimball and Scott Bowling, Brighton; and Tom MacFarlane, Aaron Clinger and Chancey Pilcher, East.
Also, Scott Ith and John Sorenson, Hillcrest; Kristopher Elmer, Doug Hanson and Matthew Hepner, Layton; Glen Peterson, David Olsen and Jessie Floyd, Mountain Crest; Scott Stanger, Jason Kern and Shaun Paskett, Viewmont; and Tye Draper, Kelly Greenhalgh and Rory Pence, Sevier Valley Area Vocational Center.