JJC Automotive Students Win First, Second Place in State Competition

Joliet Junior College automotive students Joaquin Cuevas and John Palkovitz brought home first and second place wins at the Illinois Skills USA State Competition in April.JJC Automotive Students Win First, Second Place in State Competition
Cuevas, who won first place, said the honor came as a surprise because when they were announcing the winners, they mispronounced his name, and he thought they were calling somebody else.
After a few seconds, he realized they were calling him.
“It was pretty amazing,” he said with a smile on his face.
Cuevas, a soon-to-be JJC graduate, is a student worker with the automotive service technology program.
He is glad he chose JJC because of the enormous facilities and knowledgeable professors.
“All the instructors are outstanding,” he added.
He has always been interested in mechanics because his father works in the field.
Palkovitz, who received second place at the state competition, has a similar background. The first-year JJC student got involved with the program because his father’s work as a mechanic intrigued him.
Palkovitz’s advice for students just beginning the automotive service technology program at JJC is simple.
“Pay attention. You get what you put in,” he said.
Both Palkovitz and Cuevas are friends and graduates of Lockport High School. They both plan on transfering to Southern Illinois University with concentrations in automotive engineering.
Automotive Technology Professor Jim Coleman said he is very proud of the two students.
“They are both outstanding students and well-mannered young men,” he said. “They do a good job. The quality of their work is top notch, and they don’t cut corners. They take great pride in what they do.”
According to Coleman, after passing a written test at the beginning of each year, JJC students have been sent to the Illinois Skills USA State Competition for the past eight years.
In the competition, students are timed and go from module to module, each with a different challenge.
Only 15 students from Illinois are selected to attend the competition after taking the test. This year, nine of the 15 students who qualified were from JJC. For the past five years, a JJC student has always come out of the state competition as a first place winner.
For more information about JJC’s automotive service technology program, contact Coleman at 815-280-2576 or e-mail him at jicolema@jjc.edu.

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