Aims Community College Students Excel in Regional SkillsUSA Competition

Five students from the Colorado school move on to the state competition.

Aims students moving on to the statewide SkillsUSA competition, pictured left to right: Kayleigh Kerr, Jesse Manuel, Drew Ayres, Lucian Simpson and Mario Saenz. Aims Automotive instructors pictured left to right in the front row: Kyle Cadarette and Mike Hanscome. Photo via Facebook.

A group of talented students from Aims Community College made a mark at the SkillsUSA Regional Competition, demonstrating exceptional skills in auto body and repair. Hosted at the Aims Automotive & Technology Center on the Colorado-based school's Windsor Campus, the event saw participation from 22 contenders from Aims and Morgan community colleges.

The competition, held Feb. 8, was divided into three primary areas: collision repair, refinishing and damage appraisal and estimating. Participants were assessed across both high school and college divisions, with their tasks graded on a strict points scale that reflected national standards, competency, safety and professionalism.

Five Aims students earned their place in the upcoming state competition, thanks to their outstanding performances. Mario Saenz clinched first place in the college collision repair category, while in refinishing, Kayleigh Kerr, Drew Ayres and Jesse Manuel secured the first three positions, respectively. Lucian Simpson topped the high school division in refinishing.

The event, judged by more than 20 industry representatives, shop managers and forepersons from Denver, Cheyenne and Northern Colorado, was not just a competition but also a potential job fair for the participants. Mike Hanscome, an Aims automotive instructor and advisor for the SkillsUSA team, emphasized the importance of the competition as an opportunity for students to stand out to potential employers.

"Every student, whether they place at the top or the bottom on that day, is a prospect for employers," Hanscome said.

The top finishers will progress to the Colorado State Leadership and Skills Conference scheduled for April 9-11 in Pueblo, with an eye on the national competition in Atlanta later in June.

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