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OHS auto students shine at state competition

GOOD UNDER THE HOOD – (from left) OHS auto teacher Joe Lazzarino and seniors Nick Colangelo and Chris Marshall. With Lazzarino’s help Colangelo and Marshall took home many ribbons and scholarship offers at the Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society’s annual automotive competition held April 29. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
May 11, 2011 - Oxford is rapidly becoming known as the school district that produces first-rate automotive students.

Case in point, OHS seniors Nick Colangelo and Chris Marshall walked away with tons of honors at the Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society's (MITES) annual automotive competition held April 29 at the Tuscola Technology Center in Caro.

"I'm just ecstatic," said Joe Lazzarino, who teaches automotive repair and fundamentals at OHS. "I'm really proud of both of these guys. For the effort they put into it, how hard they actually worked, how far they got – the outcome is outstanding."

Lazzarino trained Colangelo and Marshall for the MITES competition. This was only the second year OHS has entered the largest automotive competition in the state.

Out of 103 student-competitors from 28 high schools and career centers, Colangelo took first place overall because he placed in the top 10 in all eight categories.

He earned first place in steering and suspension; two second place ribbons in engine performance and general knowledge; two third place ribbons in brakes and on the written exam; two eighth place ribbons in electrical and automotive math; and a 10th place finish in engine repair.

"Nick taking first place (overall) is like the grand award. That's what everybody strives to get," Lazzarino said.

"I didn't expect to come in first," Colangelo said. "I thought I did bad in all of (the categories)."

"Nick was actually the very last competitor that was done with everything. When they started doing the awards, he was still in the lab, working on brakes," Lazzarino said. "His facial expression was pretty interesting because he didn't realize they had an overall (winner) . . . He was just standing there and his name was called and his face sort of turned white; he couldn't believe he just won. He was shocked."

For his efforts, Colangelo earned $18,000 in scholarship offers from various schools.

Colangelo is considering attending either Universal Technical Institute or UNO.

He's hoping to get into the Ford MSAT (Manufacturer Specific Advanced Training) program, in which students specialize in particular auto systems, then get placed in jobs at Ford dealerships.

"Probably within the first two years, they could easily be making $50,000 a year out of school, which is pretty impressive," Lazzarino noted.

Marshall also did well at the MITES competition earning fifth place in automotive math and eighth place in brakes. He took 12th in the competition.

"Seeing as how there were (103) competitors, 12th overall ain't bad at all," he said. "Looking back, I did pretty good."

Marshall received a $1,500 scholarship offer from Ohio Technical College in Cleveland.

After graduation, Marshall plans to move to Georgia and attend school there.

"I'm going to start off with basic automotive (repair), then I'm going to specialize in high performance engines," Marshall said. "I'll be tearing down and rebuilding high performance engines that will sell for $20,000 to $30,000."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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