Seniors succeeding in Power Equipment Tech

THS seniors geared for success in Power Equipment Tech competitions
Posted on 04/22/2022

As seniors, Kyle Sommer and Ayden Unger hold the State Championship banner between them, the pride in earning first and second place, respectively, shines through. They are an accomplished team as they had previously won first and second place at the regional competition at Auburn High School a few weeks prior to going to the state competition. 

Kyle and Ayden hold up the State Championship banner from the SkillsUSA Washington State Championship


Tahoma High School’s club, Automotive Technology Organization, is coached by Geoff Fiorito and participates in SkillsUSA competitions. SkillsUSA is dedicated to teaching skills needed by the skilled workforce that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics, according to their website. There are over 110 categories of skills to compete.  


For both the regional and state competitions, Sommer and Unger competed in the Power Equipment Tech category. They had to take a knowledge test, demonstrate hands-on skills to diagnose and repair engines, and participate in an employment interview. For the state competition, there was only the online testing portions, as well as interview skills. It was a wonderful opportunity for Sommer and Unger to meet many people from around the state.


After high school, Sommer plans to blend his love of the outdoors, desire to be a firefighter and his skills with small engine repair to work in Wildland Firefighting. His plan is to start at Oregon State University in fall 2022 to earn his Forest Management and Fire degree. He was inspired to dive deeper into this path after watching the forest fires in 2020 in Paradise, California. In addition to working on small engines in Fiorito’s class and Automotive Technology Organization club, Sommer has volunteered in King County Search and Rescue and Snoqualmie Ski Patrol.  For the senior STEP project, Sommer job shadowed the Fire Management Director for Washington’s Department of Natural Resources and discussed the practices of using small engine pumps while fighting wildland fires. Sommer is excited to blend these skills and interests to pursue his future career.

Ayden standing next to his go-kart made from an upcycled shopping cart and is fitted with a frying pan steering wheel


Photo of Ayden's go-kart

Unger loves cars, so he joined Fiorito’s class to learn how to work on them. Unger shows great satisfaction in the skills that he has learned when he talks about the 1976 Mustang that he successfully fixed up and sold. Not having space at home to work on another car isn’t a deterrent for Unger as he has moved on to his next project. In the automotive workshop, he has an old shopping cart that he is upcycling by mounting it on a chassis and adding a small gas engine. The pride in his craftsmanship is evident as he shows the details of the go-kart, with a chuckle at using a fry pan as the steering wheel. He is also excited about the moped that he is helping repair at a friend’s house. Unger realizes that his small engine skills opens many doors for him and he is “weighing his options for after graduation.”


Sommer will move on to the National SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, GA from June 20-24. From our entire Tahoma Family, good luck Kyle!


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