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East Valley Focus

NORTH HOLLYWOOD : Girl to Attend Contest for Auto Repair


A 17-year-old who said she just didn't want to be helpless when it comes to car repair will represent California in a nationwide competition on automotive technology.

Barbara Duffy of North Hollywood used a demonstration on the use of spark plugs to win a recent statewide competition sponsored by the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, a nonprofit organization that promotes vocational education in schools. She will compete in the national competition in Louisville, Ky., on June 21.

"I cannot recall in recent history that we would have a female win in this technical area. It is very unusual, particularly in the automotive area," Deirdre Ransome, state director of the vocational clubs organization said. Only about 5% of the participants in the organization are female, she added.

On April 24, Duffy beat out 27 other students from throughout the state with her six-minute oral presentation on the use of spark plugs, garnering her a first place in the automotive technology category.

Being able to communicate about how devices work, Ransome pointed out, has become a highly prized skill in many trades.

"Industry considers communication a basic skill that today's workers are sorely lacking in," Ransome said.

Competing at a national level was the last thing on Duffy's mind when she signed up for an automotive technology class.

"I'm going to be driving a car and I don't want to be helpless," Duffy said. "Basically, it's so expensive to get people to service your car and it's so simple to fix. It's just practical knowledge."

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