‘Uplifting voting frenzy’ makes Jordan High a finalist for auto award

Jordan High reaches semifinals in national automotive contest

Jordan Vocational High School is a semifinalist in the Quaker State Best in Class Challenge. Online voting started this week and runs through Sept. 25.
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Jordan Vocational High School is a semifinalist in the Quaker State Best in Class Challenge. Online voting started this week and runs through Sept. 25.

A Muscogee County high school’s automotive program received the most online votes in its region to become a finalist in a national contest, winning a chance to restore and customize a classic Mustang and compete for the grand prize.

Jordan Vocational High School finished first out of 10 semifinalists in the Atlanta market during the Quaker State Best in Class Challenge online voting Sept. 12-25.

Jordan was among 55 semifinalists in one of five markets: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, northern New Jersey and Orlando.

The top vote-getter in each market will receive a used Ford Mustang, valued at up to $3,000, and $2,000 worth of supplies from AutoZone to restore and customize their vehicle. The finalists will compete in six weeklong challenges before the winner is announced in late November.

The winner will have their Mustang shown at a Barrett-Jackson auction, billed as the world’s greatest classic car show, April 6-8 in West Palm Beach, Fla., and be allowed to keep the profit from the sale of their vehicle. The winner also will receive a $2,500 credit account at AutoZone and a customized tool kit valued at $500.

This year’s judges include Tommy Pike, owner of Tommy Pike Customs, and Sung Kang, an actor, producer and car enthusiast, known for “The Fast and the Furious” movies. They will use remote video to judge the finalists.

Robert Harris and Tony Woodard are the teachers in Jordan’s 200-student automotive program. The 11 students they selected to represent Jordan as Team Red Jacket in the contest are Evan Barefield, Jordan Battles, Austin Bedsole, Joseph Camacho, Joseph Craigen, Alejandro Gomez, Dante Lummus, Breanna Price, Jacob Van Eram, Jacob Wilton and Trennie West.

“We’re a group of guys and one gal who are the best of the best in the automotive department in our school,” said Craigen, 16, “but it’s more about coming together and putting great minds together and building a great car.”

Harris, who entered Jordan in the contest by applying in March, likened it to a STEM project. He figures it will help the students apply what they learn in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.

“Each one has a strength in some of those areas,” he said. “We’re going to let them own this and take it to new heights.”

Price, 17, said she is looking forward to “seeing what everybody’s ideas are to make the car look awesome and put a whole bunch of cool stuff on there. We have a good team, so I know we can do it.”

Harris is grateful for everyone who voted to give Jordan this opportunity.

“It just went viral,” he said. “… It was just a community, uplifting voting frenzy.”

Vote totals

The vote totals for the Atlanta market schools are:

1. Jordan, 2,934.

2. Maxwell High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., 2,495.

3. Paulding County High School in Dallas, Ga., 1,793.

4. Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology in Winder, Ga., 1,379.

5. McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga., 1,021.

6. Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, Ga., 911.

7. Cherokee High School in Canton, Ga., 383.

8. Effingham College & Career Academy in Rincon, Ga., 325.

9. Etowah High School in Woodstock, Ga., 156.

10. Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., 73.

The other finalists: Charles B. Aycock High School in Pikeville, N.C.; New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.; Kearny (N.J.) High School; and Satellite High School in Satellite Beach, Fla.