Bringing Home Some Big Hardware

Two Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center Auto Tech students brought home a very BIG trophy on May 21!

Conner Gale from Byron-Bergen Central Schools, and Noah Burke from Batavia City Schools, took first place in the Ron Smith Memorial Automotive Competition that was held at Erie Community College and sponsored by Niagara Frontier Automotive Dealer Association (NFADA).

Each student won a $10,000 college scholarship, as well as, a $5,000 tool scholarship.

Charlie Pfeil and Tom Hermann, representatives from NFADA, recently paid a visit to the Batavia CTE Center to recognize these two students and also present them with their scholarship certificates.

Hermann explained how noteworthy it was for these two high school seniors to win this competition.

“This is a very big deal for you to win the competition. In the past, the winners of the competition have been people who have graduated from high school and are employed at dealerships,” Hermann said.  “This is a great accomplishment to put on your resume. The future is yours.”

When asked about the competition, both Connor and Noah said that they were apprehensive.

“It was nerve-racking,” Noah said.  “We knew the tasks that we had to complete but we weren’t sure of the specific issues we had to fix. But we worked together as a team.” (One of the tasks included diagnosing and repairing an issue with a vehicle that had been purposely bugged.)

Overall, both students felt prepared for the competition.  “We spent time after school preparing and also spent a week working at Basil Ford in Buffalo so we could work on newer model vehicles,” Connor said.  “The extra time that we spent preparing really paid off. Mr. Yates really helped us to understand how to problem solve,” Noah said.

Bob Yates, Auto Technology Instructor, said, "Conner and Noah represented Genesee Valley BOCES and my Automotive Technology class in the most professional manner. These two students were so dedicated and spent many hours preparing for the competition,” Yates said.  “This preparedness proved their success, and I’m so proud of Connor and Noah.”

Both Noah and Conner plan to pursue their education.  Conner is currently employed at Livingston Associates and plans to go to college for automotive technology.  Noah plans to attend the State University of New York at Morrisville to study Automotive Management.

Vincent Dickinson, a junior from Batavia City Schools, placed second in the Ron Smith Memorial Automotive Competition Tire Rodeo.  This event is a timed event test of how a student properly mounts, balances, and, installs a tire.

Congratulations to Conner Gale, Noah Burke, and Vincent Dickinson.


left to right: Margaret Poray, Executive Principal GV BOCES Batavia Campus; Bob Yates, Auto Technology Instructor; Noah Burke, Conner Gale, Charlie Pfeil and Tom Hermann, representatives from NFADA.