Advisory Council for Career & Technical Education for New York City

Harley Davidson Internships Propel McKee Students to First Place in Automotive Competition


RMHS auto program (l. to r.) Nicholas Harripersad, Brandon Colvil, Mr. Dave Sarno and Thomas Marron.

Only seniors can enter the annual Greater New York Dealer’s Association (GNYDA) automotive competition held at GNYDA’s Queens campus. For the second year in a row, students from Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical Education High School (RMHS) on Staten Island bested teams from six other New York City schools that have automotive programs. Most of those schools have over 200 seniors while RMHS has only 30 members in its senior class, but RMHS students come to school early and stay late to train for the GNYDA contest.

The two students who came in First Place this year were Thomas Marron and Brandon Colvil, both part of RMHS’s internship program. For the past year, these two dedicated students have been interning at Lombardi’s Harley Davidson on Bay Street in Staten Island. Thomas told his automotive teacher, Mr. David Sarno, “Working there has really helped train me to become a great mechanic.”

This win gave RMHS back-to-back titles for the first time in the school’s history. Both Thomas and Brandon won up to $12,500 in scholarships. On February 10, 2015, they will compete in the state championship against the top teams in Long Island and upstate New York as well as the second, third and fourth place teams in NYC. The winner of the state championship will go up against nationwide contenders at the New York International Auto Show in April.

The students had to compete at twelve different work stations that challenged their knowledge of today’s high tech automobiles. The stations included electrical, brakes, tires, tool identification, steering and suspension systems. Brandon said, “Our attention to detail is what put us over the top.” The judges agreed.

Mr. Sarno, recent recipient of the CTE Council’s Stanley Schair CTE Teacher Award for Excellence & Innovation  said, “I am so proud of my students. Accomplishments like this really help my program.”