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Automotive program celebrated
Central recognizes students
Auto WEB
Marlo Miranda, Forsyth Central automotive technology instructor, and students Nick Straukas and Francisco Martinez pose for a photo during an awards ceremony Wednesday. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Forsyth Central High School celebrated some of its top automotive technology students and supporters Wednesday.

Several from the program recently earned certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE.

Through ASE, students in high school can take the same exams as college students to earn two-year certifications.

Marlo Miranda, the teacher who leads the auto tech program, said 14 students each earned at least one of the ASE certifications this year.

“Our boys worked really, really hard to get these so we want to take time to recognize them,” he said, noting that passing the exams is not easy.

“We have some boys that have tried to take them up to four times and haven’t been successful yet.”

Among the certification areas are brakes, engine repair, electrical and suspension and steering.

One of the students, Nick Straukas, passed the exams in all six of the areas taught in the school’s program, which is the only one of its type in the county.

Other students recognized included: Juan Aguilera; Michael Arnold; Joe Bieler; Lukas Campbell; Sam Downey; Tristan Hall; Francisco Martinez; Nathan Patterson; Chandler Reynolds; Jordan Schaller; Anthony Signa; Brandon Warner; and John Webb.

Straukas and Martinez also received recognition for placing ninth in the nation at the National Automotive Technology Competition earlier this school year.

“For them to break into the top 10 was amazing and I don’t think we plan on stopping until we win that national championship,” Miranda said.

Also during Wednesday’s event, some of the program’s top community supporters were recognized.

Since it began 10 years ago, the program has had an advisory council comprised of industry professionals. According to Miranda, the group has been imperative to its success.

“We have a very special group of dealers here in town,” Miranda said. “This program only exists because there’s a need and the program only exists because there’s support.”

Among the groups recognized were: Andean Chevrolet; Hayes Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge; Billy Howell Ford; Milton Martin Honda; the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association; Motor Werks Racing; and Chuck Reynolds Car Company.