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Sultana trio gets revved up for L.A. Auto Show

Star Editor

(This story originally appeared in the Hesperia Star Tuesday, December 5, 2006)

Each year, the L.A. Auto Show transports thousands of car enthusiasts into a fantasy land of concept vehicles and car manufacturers’ latest designs. But for a Sultana High School trio, the event, which runs through Dec. 10, is an opportunity to peer into the students’ very near, real future.

Thanks to the Troy, Mich.-based Automotive Youth Educational Systems, Sultana High seniors Scott Peterson, Robby Hipsher and Nick Poiry were treated to a unique field trip to the 99th annual show last Thursday. Each one was immersed in a high-octane, dazzling and informative day that served as reinforcement for their careers.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Poiry, who along with his fellow show participants is enrolled in the school’s ROP auto tech program taught by Jay Winters. “You get to see all the new concept cars.”

One of the cars that caught his eye was the new Mustang, which “is the same as the GT500 and they supercharged it.” And it comes with high-tech features.

“Instead of rearview mirrors they put little cameras on it. I’d like to get one.”

Peterson, who is serving a non-paid training internship at Greiner Buick Pontiac GMC in Victorville, was impressed with one cute, little sportscar in particular.

“I liked the new Miata with the hard top rather than the rag top,” he said. “I’m a real Miata fan. I like cars that handle well. The Miata handles well.”

The 17-year-old also was looking forward to going to the Nissan exhibit next.

Hipsher, also 17, liked a new street concept Toyota Tundra pickup truck.

“The overall look of it is pretty striking,” he said. “They put a 5.7-liter engine with a supercharger in it. It’s powerful.”

Besides seeing the eye-catching concept cars, the three will be one step ahead at their respective dealership.

“I’m learning about the new models and features that coming out in the new cars,” said Hipsher, who is an intern at Valley High Toyota Honda. Meanwhile, Poiry does the same at Sunland Ford.

Such opportunities come to those students who demonstrate an affinity for automotives and an eagerness to learn. Through the Regional Occupational Program, each student may be ready to start their careers as soon as they graduate from SHS next May. Valley High Toyota Honda will likely send Hipsher to a Toyota School at Riverside Community College where he will learn the intricacies of that make of car.

Not surprisingly, cars are an integral part of each students’ lives.

“I’ve always liked cars,” Hipsher said. “I view them as an art piece, so to speak.”

Poiry, who is a third-year automotive student at Sultana, has a Honda CRX but is restoring a 1972 Volkswagen.

Peterson inherited his love for motor vehicles from his dad.

“When my father was younger he used to do SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) racing. Ever since I was born he got me around cars.”

Detroit may be where most American-made cars are manufactured, but Los Angeles is perhaps the auto vehicle driving capital of the world. Formerly held at the beginning of every year, the show changed its dates to the end of the year to avoid conflicting with a similar event in Detroit. This year’s event was expected to have greater media coverage and a larger number of new products.

“There’s a lot more to see,” Peterson said.

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