Cameron’s Faircloth’s love for vehicles was sparked by his grandfather Wallace Beal. Growing up, Faircloth spent a lot of time at his grandfather’s shop to watch him work.
“I always thought that was the neatest thing,” Faircloth said.
After getting his driver license, he got his first truck — a 1964 Ford F100. With his work under the hood, Faircloth got the antique on the road again, and the rest is history.
The senior at Midway High School (MHS) came in first-place during the SkillsUSA state and regional level competition in automotive service technology. He competed against more than 50 students from across North Carolina. At different timed stations, participants had to complete a written test and hands-on work to show their knowledge. Some of it included rear axles, automatic transmissions, engine repairs, safety data sheets, part identification and measurements. The 2018 contest was Faircloth’s second time competing in the automotive portion.
“I kind of had a feel about what it was going to be about,” he said. “Right after we finished, I felt that I’d done pretty good. But with 56 people, you never know what the other person because we wasn’t in close contact with a lot of other contestants.”
It was an amazing moment for Faircloth, especially since it’s his senior year.
“It’s a good feeling to get first and to be going on to the next level,” he said.
The National Leadership and Skills Conference will be held in Louisville, Ky. from June 25 through June 29. Faircloth is now preparing to compete against first-place winners in every state and the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“It’s going to be a closer competition because everyone there is skilled and the competition itself is more intense with a lot more stations and in-depth knowledge.”
For his automotive knowledge, Faircloth was offered several scholarships ranging from $7,500 to $10,000 to several trade institutes. The offers cam from the University of Northwestern Ohio, Universal Technical Institute and Advanced Technical Institute. After graduating from Midway, he plans to continue his education at Sampson Community College. After earning a degree from the local college, he plans to study a field related to agriculture at North Carolina State University. But Faircloth said automotive technology will still be on his mind too with opportunities to become a technician or shop owner.
“It’s a skilled trade and there will always be a calling for it,” he said.
He’s been a member of MHS’s SkillsUSA group for several years. The national organization is a partnership consisting students, teachers and industry workers who encourage a skilled workforce. Faircloth said the organization helped him develop leadership skills by becoming a regional officer for the organization. He also served as the MHS vice president and officer.
“I’ve been in it for four years, so I’ve been able to exemplify those skills and get the felling of how it feels to be a leader and help other people out, while at the same time learning about different skills such as automotive and everything else,” he said.
He’s been training with MHS automotive technology instructor Vernon Blackman for the upcoming competition. They plan to visit garages to learn about things such as wheel alignments, automatic transmission parts. Some of the training also includes watching videos.
“I’ve been with Mr. Blackman for the last three years of high school,” Faircloth said. “I always look forward to working in the shop. We got to know each other pretty well and we work together pretty good.”
Blackman said it’s very exciting to have Faircloth go to nationals. He enjoyed having him as a student too and said he’s going to be missed.
“Cameron is one of those students who is extremely mechanically inclined,” Blackman said. “He can take what you show him and he’ll grow upon it. He’s definitely a leader.”
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
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