Jean Vanier wins second straight auto show competition

Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School won its second consecutive Toronto Automotive Technology Skills Competition in a row on Feb. 17.

Two automotive technician students, Moses Jordan Guce and Shaquille Lecesne, attempted to start a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta that was rigged with a no-start condition.

Their success in this task, as well as various other timed technical tasks, placed them first in the contest.

The competition, organized by Centennial College and now in its 12th year, took place at the Canadian International Auto Show. The winners will represent Canada in the National Automotive Technology Competition in New York in April.

“Since I was a kid I loved cars and I just want to work with them,” Lecesne said quietly. “Since I own one I want to be able to work on it to fix it.”

He owns a 1996 Honda Accord, he said with a smile.

Guce and Lecesne have been friends since Grade 4.

“I plan to go more into the trade,” Guce said about his post-high school plans. “I really like working with my hands … That’s how I learn.”

The two boys credit Isaac Ozah and Roy Iuliani, their transportation teacher and the head of their school’s technology department respectively.

“We came 14th in New York last year,” Iuliani recalled. “We expected to finish in the top three.”

Central Technical School represented Canada and won at the New York International Auto Show three years ago. Last year, Jean Vanier students James Ryan Bachiller and John Gonsalves won the Toronto competition, but lost in New York.

Iuliani is more optimistic about this year.

“We’re going there to win,” he said.

Lecesne and Guce seemed unfazed by the attention, shrugging off any doubts about their chances in New York.

“I’m excited,” Guce said. “Hopefully, we’re going to win.”

The two friends spoke of opening their own shop together sometime down the road.

For now, they plan on entering the apprenticeship program in automotive studies after graduation.

“I love cars,” Guce said smiling.