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PCSD Career Tech Students Win Scholarship Money at Cleveland Auto Show

Sitting in the back of the Parma City School District Automotive Service Technology classroom are a display of trophies and plaques that exemplifies the excellence of the program. The Career Technical and Educational program can add another piece of hardware to the collection.

Senior Jacob Stacko from Normandy and Kyle Martin from Valley Forge competed in the 25th Annual Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association Automotive Technology Competition at the Cleveland Auto Show. The duo ended up placing third out of five teams.

“It was a personal accomplishment, and I’m sure Jake feels the same way. Also, it’s great to show off our program, I guess you can say,” Martin said.

“I’d have to say it’s the same for me, an accomplishment,” Stacko said. “Going into this I was really nervous and wondered ‘Do I have what it takes?’ To place where we placed, it did give me the confidence to say ‘Hey, I know what I’m doing and I can do this for a living’ and that’s really cool to me.”

The AST program was selected out of numerous schools in Northeast Ohio. Out of 150 students that applied, the PCSD AST program had four students who tallied the highest scores in the automotive written examination. Stacko and Martin had the two highest scores among their classmates, allowing them to compete. Stacko had the highest comprehensive score out of anyone in Northeast Ohio.

The competition consisted of Stacko and Martin having to solve 10 drivability faults inserted on a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox, which they had to locate and repair inside of the 2 hour, 30 minute time limit. 

The faults in the vehicle ranged from the check engine light to issues syncing a cell phone to the blue tooth software.

“You have to look through service information and look for bulletins on specific issues to see if the vehicle has come in before and if someone else has fixed it. If you can’t find anything at that point, you have to test and see what’s wrong, what can be the cause and then you have to correct that based on what kind of information that is in front of you,” Stacko said.

Stacko and Martin collaborated to solve the issues, but as time narrowed and the pressure was on, the two split duties in order to finish the task.

As a result of their third place finish, Stacko and Martin each earned $2,100 in scholarships. The two will use the money towards obtaining business degrees.

Using his business degree, Martin would eventually like to open up his own shop. During his time earning his business degree, he will continue to work as a technician to gain experience in order to be an independent mechanic.

As for Stacko, he would like to use his business degree for a management position, helping other technicians.

Stacko and Martin are currently part of the workforce in the community. Martin works at Bob Gillingham Ford where he currently performs oil changes, maintenance and tires. Stacko works at Conrad’s Tire Express and Total Car Care performing oil changes, alignments, maintenance, and tires.