NKC Schools auto tech students named as national finalists in prestigious contest

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a lot of horsepower under the hood at one metro high school.

Auto tech students at North Kansas City Schools have been nominated for a prestigious honor, one that's traditionally reserved for small colleges and trade schools.

It takes more than a socket set to learn auto repair. The hard work is paying off with national recognition for the auto tech program at NKC Schools.

Students in the district's big Northland garage have already been recognized by Tomorrow's Technician Magazine as being the best school of its kind in the Midwest. Now, as one of the contest's final four, Jack Stow's students could be named best in the nation.

"It's great to be nominated and to be in this contest," Stow told FOX4's Sean McDowell.

Stow has served as North Kansas City's C-Tech teacher since 2001. He said he realizes this is usually an honor presented to schools of higher learning and career and technical centers.

"The kids that come out of this program are sought after," Stow said Thursday.

Once students graduate, Stow said they're proving to be great hires, and that's what sets them apart in the workforce.

The winner of that national contest, which is sponsored by O'Reilly Auto Parts and Wix Filters, will be announced at a Las Vegas ceremony in late October.

Stow said eight students will make the trip for that announcement, and he'll be surprised if they don't win since he's seen how hard his students have worked.

"These kids know what it means to work. They know what it means to hit that clock. They understand what it is to be in this business. That's 90 percent of it. Having a good attitude," Stow said.

That awards ceremony is being held in conjunction with the Specialty Equipment Market Association Convention, which features the latest products in aftermarket auto parts. Stow said that convention will also serve as an educational experience for his team of students.