Hard Work Pays Off
Rim of the World Unified School District
They stood together as a skilled team of four ROP students, proudly representing Rim of the World High School. They were ready to test their training from their instructor, Dave Meigide, at the U.S. Army High School Automotive Challenge.
Ali Arteaga, Zech Barnett-Baker, Mario Julian, and Addam Avery are no strangers to hard work or teamwork. They work as part of the pit crew for their school’s drag racing team with instructor Dave Meigide. These four students worked side by side, studying from textbooks and applying principle to practice working on engine diagnostics five days a week to be able to participate in the preliminary automotive challenge at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) campus in Rancho Cucamonga on Nov. 3. At UTI, they competed against multiple high schools, advancing to the semi-finals, which were held at the 24th annual NHRA/U.S. Army High School Automotive Challenge on Nov. 7. These challenge days are held in conjunction with the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the Career Opportunities Fair in Pomona.
The high school teams competing learned why the program is called an “automotive challenge.” These teams had to pass a written test, and several hands-on tests such as precision measurements and electrical systems. Rim’s team passed with flying colors in the semi-finals, moving on to the finals. This final competition was more rigorous than the former challenges. The focus was to work together, pooling their combined knowledge to diagnose and solve an engine problem on a T-bucket roadster. Instructors may not assist, and must wait separately in anticipation of their team’s success. The Rim High automotive team placed second in the challenge, and took home a prize of $2000, and an awesome trophy to highlight their combined efforts. “They worked hard and studied, and understood that hard work pays off,” said instructor Meigide.
During this year’s program, a student was selected by the National Hot Rod Association to participate as part of the U.S. Army/Tony Schumacher pit team for one day. This honor went to Zech Barnett-Baker, one of Rim’s automotive competition participants. Zech spent his day being followed by a camera crew as he got the ultimate experience in working with a top fuel racing team. He worked on heads and clutch disks under the watchful eye of the pit crew members and pit chief. Zech said, “My whole time here was so much fun, and a great opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
Rim’s students appreciate being able to participate in such a great day of learning and teamwork, and are very grateful for their awards and the experiences they gained. Congratulations to Rim’s competition team, we are very proud of you!