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AAA Texas: Two Texas High School Students Compete in 2005 AAA/Ford Student Auto Skills National Finals

HOUSTON--June 24, 2005--Seniors Michael Easley and Christopher Powell of North Richland Hill, Texas, will represent Texas at the 2005 AAA/Ford Student Auto Skills National Finals. Along with their automotive technician instructor Olin Harrington, the Birdville Independent School District seniors will visit Washington, D.C., to compete in the finals. The competition begins at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, June 27th, on the National Mall.

Powell and Easley won their state competition, which included a written exam and a hands-on test in which participants diagnosed identically "bugged" vehicles. The national finals follow the same format. The students will compete against 49 other teams in Washington, D.C.

Both students attended Shannon Career Center. This trip marks the school's second trip to the national finals with the first being in 2002.

"The goal of the competition is to encourage young men and women to continue their education in automotive technology and to view the automotive field as a promising career," said Patrick O'Reilly, manager of AAA Texas Automotive Repair Program.

Both students hope to continue their automotive education. Powell will attend the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, and Easley will attend Brookhaven College for the Ford ASSET program.

"They are the two leaders in the class," said Olin Harrington, their instructor. "They are very motivated and work hard to try to achieve excellence. That's their goal in whatever they do."

Although for many students in the competition, their instructors are the motivating force behind their effort, the opposite is true for the Birdville students.

Harrington said, "They've been really working hard at it. They drive me more than I drive them."

A team from Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, won the national competition in 2004.

The national competition, sponsored by AAA, is designed to find the most talented young auto technicians in the United States.

AAA Texas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, has been serving Texans since 1902. Today, more than a million AAA Texas' members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance service, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing, trip planning services, and traffic safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on AAA Texas' web site at