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AAA Texas Statewide Competition Determines the BEST Young Auto Technicians; Top Team from Paris, Texas

HOUSTON--May 6, 2006--A team from Paris, Texas, took top honors in the statewide AAA/Ford Student Auto Skills competition held today at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Students Aaron Clay and Bradley Bolton of Paris High School moved one step closer to becoming the best student automotive technicians in the country by winning the Texas competition. Their instructor is Michael Schmidt. The students now advance to the 2006 AAA/Ford Student Auto Skills national finals in Dearborn, Michigan, June 25th - June 27th.

The state competition was a fast-paced hands-on contest to diagnose and repair vehicles that were deliberately "bugged". The team that won had the best combination of high written test scores and best quality repaired vehicle in today's competition. The state competition was open to all high school juniors and seniors enrolled in automotive technology courses.

"The goal of this 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.

The contest is designed to encourage automotive students from across the country to pursue careers in the automotive industry by learning about high-tech equipment and the need to be well trained.

At the national finals, the Texas team will square off against teams from the 49 other states in a two-part contest comprised of a written exam and a vehicle repair exercise. The hands-on repair portion requires competitors to accurately diagnose and service identically "bugged" vehicles.

One team will be recognized by AAA and Ford as the best student auto technicians in the country. Overall, more then $5 million in scholarships and prizes will be awarded.

For winning the state contest, the winning students earned scholarships in Ford Motor Co's ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) or FACT (Ford Accelerated Credential Training) programs.

The Texas contest was one of 50 state competitions spanning the past two months. The team from Dale Jackson Career Center in Lewisville, Texas, placed second in today's competition. Pearland High School placed third. This is how the other schools ranked in the statewide competition:

              SCHOOL                            CITY
              ------                            ----
    4) Kingwood High School                   Kingwood, TX

    5) Stuart Career Center                   Baytown, TX

    6) Birdville Career Center                Haltom City, TX

    7) Boerne High School                     Boerne, TX

    8) Klein High School                      Klein, TX

    9) L. P. Card Skill Center                Pasadena, TX

    10) Guthrie Center                        Houston, TX

In all, only ten teams made it to the state competition. In 2005, the team from Birdville Career Center won the state title.