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Tuesday, 07 September 2021 16:52

Texas Instructor Felix Cano is Back to Win Another SkillsUSA Title

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Instructor Felix Cano, right, took his prize student Geronimo Medrano, left, all the way to become a national champion in SkillsUSA 21 years ago, and now he’s back to try and win again with a new star pupil. Instructor Felix Cano, right, took his prize student Geronimo Medrano, left, all the way to become a national champion in SkillsUSA 21 years ago, and now he’s back to try and win again with a new star pupil.

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A good racehorse trainer is always looking for the next Secretariat or Sea Biscuit to win the big races and maybe the Triple Crown. In the NFL, coaches are always looking for the next GOAT like Tom Brady.

In this case, collision repair instructor Felix Cano is looking for his next thoroughbred in the form of a star pupil who can take the national title at next year’s SkillsUSA competition.

 

Cano, 59, has been a technician for many years and proud of his career, but the real satisfaction he’s received over the years has been as a collision repair instructor at various schools in Texas. He’s thought about retiring several times over the years, but the industry keeps calling him back for a curtain call.

 

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Cano is proud of his awards, but he is more thrilled every time he sees one of his graduates succeed.

 

Cano has always had a passion for collision repair, an industry he entered in 1980 after learning the trade from his father, Felix Cano Sr. His career path was re-directed two decades ago when he became an instructor and a mentor at H. Grady High School in Dallas, TX, his alma mater. The satisfaction he said he gets from teaching students and watching them succeed gives Cano a feeling he can’t find anywhere else.

 

As a former tech student himself, Cano had a sour taste in his mouth over his three unsuccessful tries at getting to the SkillsUSA national competition starting back in 1981. Every year, he improved his standing, but never got a shot at the national championship.

 

“I finished third in the district my sophomore year and got all the way to the state level my senior year," Cano said. "I was the first person from my school to make it that far, but I finished second with the silver medal.”

 

More than two decades ago, Cano started his teaching career and found his shining star almost immediately---a brilliant student whom he believed could be a SkillsUSA finalist and maybe even a national champion. His name was Geronimo Medrano and Cano started training him to enter the competition right away.

 

While learning alongside his students during his first gig as a teacher, Cano always had the SkillsUSA competition on his mind. As a former SkillsUSA competitor himself who never got to nationals, Cano wanted to go with his prize student.

 

At first, being a collision repair instructor wasn’t easy, but eventually Cano became comfortable in the role. When he taught his very first class consisting of 32 students, he was so anxious he...


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