Two local SkillsUSA region 6 winners, Sean Sutphin and Clayton Gould, represented Harlem High School in the statewide competition in Duluth, Ga., on Friday.
Sean qualified for the competition by finishing first in the power equipment technology region contest in Statesboro, Ga., in February. Clayton finished second in the region automotive service technology competition.
The top two finishers in each of the region contests advance to the state competition.
"I think they're two great kids. I think that good things are going to happen for these two young men," said their teacher Nick Hayes.
SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled-service occupations.
The organization formerly was known as Vocational Industry Clubs of America, or VICA.
Sean, a 17-year-old senior, thought he had done well on the written and hands-on exam.
However, he said, "I was surprised I got first place. Hopefully, I'll do the same at state."
For the hands-on portion of the test, he had to take apart and reassemble certain parts of an engine.
Sean said he would like to work with heavy equipment one day.
Clayton, a 17-year-old junior, had to complete a four-part test.
He had to figure out on a computer how to solve an electrical problem in a car.
He also worked on a vehicle to find a leak in the coolant system and performed a brake and alignment inspection.
"I felt like I did well, because I got to watch the other people do it, too," Clayton said.
Both boys said their fathers taught them how to work on cars.
"My dad's a mechanic," Sean said. "He's worked on lawn mowers, cars and trucks, and I've just learned from him."
The transportation students agreed that Hayes had taught them a thing or two, also.
"He's a great teacher, but not only a teacher," Clayton said. "He's also a friend to you."
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