They may just be in high school, but their talents go well beyond their years.
Earlier this month 30 high school students from Maine gathered to compete in the Dick Dolloff Memorial Student Truck Driving Competition.
The top three finishers in the Class A competition were Alex Glidden, Luke Wheeler, and Nathaniel Erskine. Glidden also won the Chris Broderick Safety Award for vehicle inspection.
The winners of the Class B (straight truck) group were Ryan Bradbury, Nicholas Ramsdell, and Brian Cote. Bradbury also won the vehicle inspection award.
The truck driving skills competition, which took place at the Augusta Civic Center, started more than two decades ago by Dolloff and other local driving instructors. The students drove in either a tractor-trailer combination vehicle or in a tri-axle dump truck vehicle. Vicki Kimball, chair of the event and the instructor at Tri-County Technical Center, said the total number of students who qualified for this year's competition was down from other recent years, when more than 50 have competed.
The students attend either Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Rumford, Region 3 Northern Penobscot in Lincoln, Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter, or Westbrook Regional Vocational Center in Westbrook. They can receive as much as 350 hours of actual driver training during the school year. They then have the chance to obtain a Class A or Class B license.
The competition is supported by members of the Maine Motor Transport Association and the Maine Professional Drivers Association. The vehicles used by the students were donated by Whited Peterbilt, Freightliner-Western Star of Maine, and O'Connor Trucks.
A group of students who have competed multiple times including Destiny Crocker and Nicole McKenna will have the chance to participate in a special contest at the state's professional truck driving championships later in May.
In a separate announcement, the Vincennes University Foundation has been named as a beneficiary of the C. James McCormick Revocable Trust for $25,000. The James E. Nicholas Scholarship Fund will provide an annual grant for a student majoring in truck driver training at VU.
James E. Nicholas, for whom the scholarship is named, served as president of the Indiana Motor Trucking Association in the 1960s and was a good friend of McCormick. McCormick passed away last year at the age of 92. In 1981 he acquired Bestway Express, which has become a multi-generational business for the family.
Similarly, Teletrac Navman recently announced it is sponsoring an essay and video contest on technology in the transportation industry for U.S. college students, offering two winners a $3,000 scholarship for the fall 2018 semester.