La Porte High School senior Kolten Dunkerson brought national recognition to his school and community through his outstanding performance at the Skills USA National Competition in Kansas City, Missouri, this summer. Kolten placed fourth in the contest, which was held June 20 through 25, and was honored at the September meeting of the La Porte ISD Board of Trustees in recognition of his achievement.
Even though Kolten was a first-year participant, he competed in the auto refinishing contest for second-year students, winning first place at both the district and state levels. The road to nationals began with the district Skills USA competition in February, followed by the state contest in Corpus Christi March 25 through 27.
Kolten, the son of Randy and Becky Dunkerson, spent long hours during his summer break practicing for the national competition. At the event, he earned the highest score or placed among the top three contestants in all hands-on competitions. Students competed in eight categories such a color matching, bumper repair and estimating.
Kolten received a $10,500 scholarship to Universal Technical Institute in Houston for winning the state competition. After graduating from UTI, he plans to open his own auto refinishing shop and later earn a bachelor's degree in business. He is looking forward to competing in the Skills USA competitions again this year.
"It's amazing to have a student like Kolten," said Dr. Joanne Kolius, LPHS principal. "He is very committed to this program, and there is little doubt he will advance again--maybe all the way!"
Kolten is the student of Valentin Trevino. Trevino is in his fourth year of teaching and his second year of taking students to the Skills USA competitions. Both years, La Porte High School students have won the district and state championships. Brett Kelly, a 2006 LPHS graduate, won the competitions that year.
Trevino also is a product of La Porte ISD schools, having participated in the auto refinishing program under the direction of Noel Welch. Welch now teaches in Alvin, and his student earned second place in collision at the national contest.
"Not only are we very proud of Kolten, but we are also very proud of the dedication and commitment of Mr. Trevino as he continues to help students prepare for the Skills USA competitions," said Debbie Seibert, LPHS career and technology education facilitator. "Mr. Trevino is a product of the LPHS auto collision program, and he has returned to us as a teacher with great passion for preparing students for a career in the auto collision industry. Mr. Trevino spends many hours outside the classroom, including evenings, weekends, holidays, and even summer vacation to work with his students to improve their skills, not just for competition but also for industry level ASE certification exams."
Kolten has enrolled in UTI and will begin his coursework there in August 2011. Expanding on his skills in auto refinishing, he will take classes in the auto technician program at UTI.
"I decided to further my knowledge," Kolten said at the Board meeting. "Rather than re-doing the collision side of it, I'm getting a broader knowledge of the entire field."