Football? Puh-lease. Wrestling? Forget it. Now, water boiler repair… there’s a sport!
William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School played host to the 7th annual Service and Installation Student competition, in which students studying Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) gathered together with inspection managers and heating installation specialist to judge them on their hands on performances.
Of the three competing schools – Grady High School (25 Brighton 4th Road), Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in Bronx, and Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers – the last took home the trophy for the second year in a row.
Jeffrey Santos, 17, student at Saunders High School, felt confident and said he knew they’d win before the competition started.
“Yeah, we’re going to win,” he said with nary a doubt.
Awards were given out for each task from 1st place to 3rd place. The tasks included Burner Assembly, Combustion Analysis, Installation Completion, and Burner Troubleshooting. The biggest and main task was the boiler installation completion.
Boiler installation turned into a tie between Santos and Thalia Torres, a junior at Alfred E. Smith, who was one of the very few girls in the competition.
Torres was very relaxed during the competition and didn’t seem to have a worry at all.
“I knew I’d win,” said Torres.
The judges were admiring and speaking fondly about Torres as they watched her work her magic.
“She is so profound in her work,” said Adam Heidt, Technical Trainer of Advanced Hydronics.
“I’ve been on the job for 30 years and I have to admit [Torres] solders better than I do,” said John Masini, Vice President of MMI Mechanical Inc.
Many inspection specialists said Torres would be very successful in the trade, but Torres, despite her talent and love for it, doesn’t see herself in the field and has other plans.
“I’m going to go to college but not for this, for criminal justice. I want to study criminal justice,” said Torres.
“We’re looking to help these young men and women improve their skills. Hopefully there are some people here who may even hire the kids for a permanent position,” said Angel Gonzalez, Vice President of the New York Oil Heat Service Managers Association.
(Video produced by Angelina Tala.)