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Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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District Five student earns top award at state automotive competition

Pictured: Center for Advanced Technical Studies auto technology student Paul Gagliano.

CHAPIN – A student from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies earned top honors at this year’s state All Star Automotive Technology Competition For NATEF Accredited Programs.

Auto technology student Paul Gagliano placed second in the state during the event and received several prizes in addition to a $3,000 state Department of Education voucher for The Center. Dr. Bob Couch, director of the Lexington-Richland District Five school, said it was another great state honor for the automotive program and The Center.

“This award is a tribute to the excellent teachers and high-achieving students we have,” Couch said. “Our mission is to ensure our students are getting the top skills they need to compete for jobs, and Paul certainly demonstrated our ability to accomplish this with his top finish. We congratulate him and his instructors for a job well done.”

The 2016 All Star Automotive Technology Competition For NATEF Accredited Programs tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities through a series of written and hands-on tests. Students from technical schools and programs throughout South Carolina competed in this year’s event, which was held on Feb. 25.

“It was a pleasant surprise to win,” Gagliano said. “From the written test we took here at the school, I thought I might do well…but it was great to find out I got second place. The program here has really prepared me and given me good job skills. The automotive skills I’ve learned here will really help me in the future.”

Opened in 2012, The Center provides a standalone facility for Lexington-Richland School District Five students to build technical skills, gain certifications and earn college credits. Attended by students from District Five’s four high schools, The Center offers high tech courses in a wide variety of areas from biomedical science and agricultural science to alternative energy and welding. Other program offerings include mechatronics, law enforcement, graphic design, culinary arts and automotive technology.

At The Center, automotive students learn a variety of skills needed to work in the field. Students study brakes, steering, suspension, electrical and the mechanics of other vehicle parts. Last May, two students from The Center placed third in the state during the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, earning $16,000 total in scholarships to continue their education in auto technology and other fields. Gagliano’s win earned him a Snap-On roll around tool cabinet and full supply of automotive tools.

“We’re just so proud of Paul and all the students that go to these contests and place among the top,” said Wes Watts, an auto mechanics instructor at The Center. “Being able to go to these events and getting top prizes show the type of students we have and the support we get here. It’s really a proud moment for us.”

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