SEMA Names 10 Schools For 2019-2020 High School Build Program

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has announced the 10 participating high schools for the 2019-2020 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program, a project that reaches, inspires and supports high school students to learn about the automotive aftermarket industry and debuted less than three years ago with just one participating school.

California’s Santa Ynez Valley Union High School is among the 10 schools that will participate in the 2019-2020 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program, which supports students to learn about the automotive aftermarket industry.

Four schools that participated last year will return to the program this year, with six new schools joining.

“The continuous success of this program speaks volume to the positive impact auto-technology programs have when offered in high school curricula,” said Katie Hurst, SEMA youth engagement programs manager. “SEMA is proud to provide these students with an avenue to further expand their advancement to a career in the automotive industry.”

Over the course of the semester, students will gain hands-on-experience with aftermarket products, instilling them with skills in project management, installation, body-styling and team building. Vehicles incorporated in this year’s program will include third-generation Toyota 4Runners and Jeep Wrangler TJs.

The chosen high schools for the 2019-2020 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program are:

  • Career Center High School–Winston Salem, NC
  • Comstock High School–Kalamazoo, MI
  • John Hersey High School–Arlington Heights, IL
  • McGavock High School–Nashville, TN
  • Mon Valley Career & Technology Center–Charleroi, PA
  • Omaha Public Schools Career Center–Omaha, NE
  • R.L. Turner High School–Carrollton, TX
  • Santa Fe ECO–Santa Fe, NM
  • Santa Ynez Valley Union High School–Santa Ynez, CA
  • Wichita Falls Career Education Center–Wichita Falls, TX

“The part I loved was seeing all the new aftermarket parts we got to work with,” said Rogelio Martinez, a senior at Santa Fe Early Career Opportunities High School, who participated in last year’s build. “It’s a passion for each and all of us to work with cars, and when we get neat parts like this it’s just that much better.”

Upon the completion of the builds, each vehicle will be auctioned off with the proceeds being reinvested into the program to further expand another round of builds for the 2020-2021 school year. As participants of the program, each high school will also receive industry recognition through the SEMA build website and SEMA build promotions.   

Click, here, to check out our story about C.D. Hylton High School’s SEMA Jeep build from last year’s program.

Career School of the Year News

Former School Of The Year Instructor Roxanne Amiot Named 2019 SEMA-NACAT Award Winner

Roxanne Amiot, center, auto technology instructor at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, received the 2019 SEMA-NACAT Education Award for her use of aftermarket technology in her classroom. Bullard-Havens was named the Tomorrow’s Technician School of the Year in 2018.

Roxanne Amiot, auto technology instructor at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, received the 2019 SEMA-NACAT Education Award during the Education Partners Breakfast at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Bullard-Havens was named the Tomorrow’s Technician 2018 School of the Year, sponsored by WIX Filters and O’Reilly Auto Parts, under Amiot’s direction.

The award, which encourages education in the automotive aftermarket industry, recognizes instructors who teach automotive-related curricula and demonstrate positive and innovative use of aftermarket technology in their classrooms.

Amiot, who is also the head of the Automotive Technology Department at Bullard-Havens Technical High School, was selected from a very competitive field that included applicants from the U.S. and Canada.

“We are pleased to present Amiot with an award that recognizes the daily impact made in the classroom and her true passion for automotive,” said Zane Clark, SEMA senior director of education. “Her dedication to students is essential to fostering an exciting future for our aftermarket industry.”

Amiot, who worked in the automotive industry before teaching in 1988, is an alumni of the award-winning program that she now oversees. The Bullard-Havens Technical High School automotive program has been recognized for its live production repair garage, where aftermarket parts are used in community projects throughout the year. Students are prepared for careers in the automotive industry through job shadowing, community work-based opportunities, as well as interview days that include automotive aftermarket businesses such as NAPA, Fed Mogul, O’Reillys and Pep boys.

“Being recognized nationally by SEMA and NACAT brings positive attention and credibility to the work we do in our automotive technology repair program,” said Amiot. “With that comes support from the industry and the state to keep our programs open and financially funded so that we can continue to do what we do best, build skilled workers for our automotive industry.”  

Amiot is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Certified Technician with L1 and G1 certifications. Her automotive technology is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and Automotive Youth Educational Systems.

As part of the award, Amiot will also receive a complimentary registration to NACAT and $500 towards travel to attend the 2020 NACAT Conference and Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio.  

In addition to partnering with NACAT to recognize educators who support the automotive education of students, SEMA’s Educational Program includes Scholarship & Loan Forgiveness, SEMA Show Student Programs and an annual High School Vehicle Build Program.

To learn more about the SEMA-NACAT Award or SEMA’s Educational Programs, visit


SEMA Accepting Scholarship Applications

SEMA is accepting applications for the 2020 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps support the future leaders of the automotive aftermarket industry.

SEMA is now accepting applications for the 2020 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund for students preparing for careers in the automotive aftermarket industry.

The SEMA Memorial Scholarship program offers financial assistance of up to $5,000 to help foster the next generation of automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators. Scholarships are available in a variety of categories, including accounting, sales, marketing and engineering.

“Our goal is to encourage, inspire and support the future leaders of the automotive aftermarket industry,” said SEMA Manager of Student Programs Juliet Marshall. “By providing financial support to promising students, we can successfully open doors of opportunity to those working towards a career in our field.”

The program also grants loan forgiveness awards for employees of SEMA-member companies who have completed a program of study at an accredited university, college or vocational/technical program within the United States.

Applications for the program will be open until March 1, 2020.

Those chosen as scholarship recipients will be invited to attend the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where they will be recognized during an awards luncheon.

To view eligibility requirements, visit

For more information, contact SEMA Manager of Student Programs Juliet Marshall at 909-978-6655 or [email protected].


NGK Becomes Official Spark Plug Of Kalitta Motorsports

NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.), INC. and Kalitta Motorsports, announced an exclusive multi-year partnership at SEMA. This pairs a leading spark plug brand to one of the most legendary teams in motorsports. The marketing partnership, which will officially begin in 2020, will see every race car in the Kalitta Motorsports stable use NGK Spark Plugs in all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.

Over one year in the making; product, engineering and testing teams from NGK Spark Plugs and Kalitta Motorsports have worked together to develop designs to maximize the performance and durability of a spark plug that can withstand the conditions of a nitro-fueled engine. 

“This partnership represents the teaming of two iconic brands in the world of high-performance drag racing,” stated Mark Boyle – NGK general manager, product. “Our expertise in design, material engineering and proprietary ceramic technology have all been integrated to deliver a racing plug to match the championship caliber of the Kalitta Motorsports team. We look forward to sharing mutual success.”

With more than 80 years of automotive expertise, NGK Spark Plugs has been driven by extreme dedication to performance and quality. From OEM to aftermarket, its team pushes the boundaries of innovation to bring the latest technologies to market under the NGK and NTK brands. 

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with NGK Spark Plugs,” said Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports general manager. “The Kalitta team, led by Connie Kalitta, has been one of the most innovative and creative motorsports organizations for 60 years. We feel the partnership with NGK Spark Plugs will continue this tradition of performance excellence and championship results.”

The 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will begin with the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, and will be broadcast on FS1.


Final Young Guns Challenger Chosen By Fans For 6th Annual SEMA Battle Of The Builders

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) recently announced the winner of the Young Guns Fan Vote competition who will receive a prize package that includes an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the 2019 SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, a designated feature spot at the Show and entry into the Battle of the Builders competition. Chelsie Lesnoski of Penticton, BC, Canada, and her 2013 Scion FR-S was chosen by her peers in a public fan vote competition that ran from Sept. 14 to Oct. 4.

“Winning this final spot in the Young Guns competition was an absolute dream come true for me,” said Lesnoski, co-owner of Throttle Thrashers Garage, an automotive modification and customization business that does business in the Canada and U.S. “I hope this achievement encourages other young builders like myself to pursue their dreams no matter how out of reach they may seem.”

The fan vote, now in its second year, comprised of 21 runner-up contestants selected from nine regional automotive events. Lesnoski and nine other Young Guns Regional winners will now take part in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition that includes more than 300 entrants. Finalists will be announced during the SEMA Show, with the winner crowned at the official SEMA Show after-party, SEMA Ignited, on Friday, Nov. 8, in Las Vegas.


Bulldog Build: C.D. Hylton Auto Program Drives SEMA Jeep Project

Photo by Chris Cervenka Photography.

It’s the pinnacle of many automotive professionals’ careers to have a build at the SEMA Show, the automotive specialty equipment show akin to a mechanic’s Disney World. It’s a bustling show full of miles of sparkly race cars, the newest must-have products and the coolest modified vehicles you can witness in one place. 

Thanks to the SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program auto students are getting the SEMA build experience before they even graduate high school. C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, is one of five schools modifying completely customized Jeeps with the help of SEMA. 

SEMA Education 

Last year SEMA unveiled its pilot program for high school automotive programs:  SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program. The idea was to give back to the schools and allow them to create a sustainable student build program. SEMA gave Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) High School’s automotive program in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Jeep to completely customize with the help of sponsor-donated parts and then the school auctioned off the vehicle, with all the funds going right back into the school to help fund student builds for years to come. The 2015 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sold for more than $56,000 through the Bring a Trailer Auction. 

“Many auto tech programs have limited funds and are unable to provide students with the type of experience that we’re giving them,” said Wade Kawasaki, SEMA chairman of the board, in an official SEMA release. “We’re happy to be able to provide students with this unique opportunity to get them excited about the customization lifestyle. It’s encouraging to know that these kids will be contributing to the industry’s future.”

This year, SEMA upped the program and partnered with five high school auto programs across the country. C.D. Hylton was one of 90 schools who applied for the program and one of five schools who made the cut. 

The Build

The last week of February 2019, SEMA shipped a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport to C.D. Hylton to completely customize. The forest green Jeep wasn’t quite up to par for a SEMA build, so the school got to work completely updating the vehicle in true rock-crawler fashion. 

Featuring the original 4.0L 6-cylinder engine and 32 RH automatic transmission, the students touched almost every piece of the car. C.D. Hylton was the only project to complete a frame off restoration in addition to cosmetic and performance modifications. The program documented the entire process on its YouTube series Bulldog Builds, named after the school’s mascot.

Eighteen aftermarket companies supported the build and the program’s mission by donating $16,000 worth of products to the school making this a one of a kind customized Jeep. 

“I think it’s very interesting how we bring all these different companies together and basically form our Jeep,” says auto student Jeffrey Zheng.

“Working on the suspension was my favorite part,” says student Braxton Tate. “Putting the lift kit on was challenging.”

“There was nothing to offer resistance while putting together so it was a big challenge without the weight of the vehicle to help,” adds instructor Ed Stevens. “We had to get creative to install it safetly and correctly.”

In just five months the students completed the Rancho lift kit, repainted the entire vehicle white and black, including the frame and roll bar, as well as a laundry list of other modifications. New leather seats were installed, engine mounts, a brand new Sony radio, as well as some performance modifications like tires and headlights all were done by students.

Photo by Chris Cervenka Photography.

“We all kind of worked in different areas of the vehicle, say from suspension to the engine to the interior,” says student Jonah Smith. 

Time was a crunch with a June deadline for the July auction and students worked during school time, after school and during their spring break to get the Jeep auction ready. 

Photo by Chris Cervenka Photography.

“ I learned a lot,” says student Amanda Neff, who had the most contact time working on the Jeep. “Sanding the body before priming and painting was my favorite part.”

With a completely new look, the Jeep sold at auction for $26,000 – money that will all go back into a new project at the school. 

“Seeing the progress was really a huge factor to me,” says auto student Jeffrey. “From where it was to what it is now, you can really see the huge changes and the differences. When I look at the Jeep we have now it makes you think ‘oh my gosh I put in the work for this and made this what it is now.’ It’s pretty awesome.”  

Follow Hylton Automotive on YouTube to watch the entire Bulldog Builds series, which includes the SEMA Jeep and other project updates every Thursday!


SEMA High School Program Expands From 1 To 10 In Just 2 Years

The SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program will provide 10 high schools with hands-on-learning opportunities and expose hundreds of students to the $44.6 billion automotive specialty equipment industry.

The SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program, now entering its third year, will provide 10 high schools with hands-on-learning opportunities and expose hundreds of students to the $44.6 billion automotive specialty equipment industry.

The program began in 2017, with one vehicle and one high school. Using donated parts from 23 SEMA member manufacturers, students from Santa Fe Early College Opportunities Applied Science Magnet High School (Santa Fe ECO), from Santa Fe, NM, built a ’15 four-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that was auctioned off to raise money so that the program could be replicated and even grow. The following school year, the SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program expanded to include five high schools. This year, the program will include 10 vehicles consisting of Jeep Wrangler TJ’s and 3rd Generation Toyota 4Runners. 

The program aims to engage students in the customization lifestyle and introduce them to a career path within the automotive aftermarket industry by connecting high school automotive shop classes with specialty-equipment manufacturers products to build one-of-a-kind customized vehicles.

“We launched this program with the goal of offering students a hands-on learning experience while enhancing existing curriculum in high school automotive shop courses,” said Katie Hurst, SEMA youth engagement programs manager. “Not only did we reach that goal, but the program was so successful that now we are expanding the program to reach even more high school automotive shop students.”

Although applications to participate in the 2019-2020 vehicle build have already closed, SEMA is currently in the process of securing parts donations from parts manufacturers, and volunteers to serve as industry mentors, to students.

By contributing parts, participating companies will have their product installed on the vehicle(s) as well as receive recognition through the build website and in SEMA build promotions.

“The program not only provides promising students with applicable skillsets and knowledge, but gives them a great sense of community,” said Hurst. “Through teamwork, passion and the generosity of our sponsors, we are truly able to make these vehicle builds one of a kind.”

In addition to the High School Vehicle Build Program, SEMA’s Educational Program includes Scholarship & Loan Forgiveness, SEMA Show Student Programs and career opportunities through the SEMA Career Center.

Companies interested in donating parts for the builds or learning more about the High School Vehicle Build Program can visit or contact Hurst at [email protected].


SEMA Recognizes Automotive Educators

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) have selected three finalists for the SEMA-NACAT Education Award, a recognition given to automotive educators who emphasize and instruct aftermarket technology in their classrooms.  

Paul Katson

The three finalists, Paul Katson from MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA; Roxanne Amiot from Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport, CT; and Russ Bacarella from Cypress College in Cypress, CA, will participate in the SEMA Education Partners Breakfast at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, where the winner will be announced.

Roxanne Amiot

“SEMA-NACAT is happy to recognize these educators for going above and beyond to inspire students in the automotive industry,” said Zane Clark, SEMA Senior Director of Education. “All three finalists represent a positive example by fostering professional development to promising students.”

Russ Bacarella

SEMA has several student programs to introduce and encourage kids to pursue careers in the automotive aftermarket, including school outreach programs and scholarships. While the NACAT Award focuses on high school or post-secondary automotive, diesel, or collision programs in the United States and Canada, there are also programs focused on grade school students and middle schools.

To learn more about the SEMA-NACAT Award or SEMA’s Educational Programs, visit


2019 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund Winners Announced

The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund awarded $272,000 to 97 individuals this year, including scholarships for current students and loan-forgiveness awards to employees of SEMA-member companies.

“This year’s pool of scholarship winners represents the diversity of interests and disciplines that the automotive industry attracts,” said SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Tim Martin. “SEMA is committed to offering support to the next generation of young men and women that will drive this industry for years to come.”

More than $2.5 million has been awarded to over 1,500 deserving students since the program’s establishment in 1984. The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund and the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program are dedicated to fostering the next generation of automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators by helping them get off to a successful start in their education and automotive aftermarket careers.

Online applications for next year’s awards will be accepted Nov. 1, 2019, through March 1, 2020, at

SEMA Scholarship Award Winners
Recipient (Institution Name, Major)

  • Eric Anderson (Ohio University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Dylan Baillie (Boise State University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jacob Barfuss (Utah State University, Engineering)
  • Frank Bravo (Texas A&M University, Aerospace Aeronautical)
  • Joey Brinegar (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive/Business Management)
  • Ian Brown (San Diego State University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Daniel Buckel (Georgia Southern University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Emma Cameron (Boise State University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Liam Casto (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Ethan Champe (Texas A&M University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • William Cloutier (University of Portland, Computer & Information Sciences)
  • Taylor Crafton (Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley, Transportation/Logistics)
  • Ryan Curtis (University of Wyoming, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Isaiah Daniel (California State University, Fresno, Mechanical Engineering)
  • John DeBoer (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Electrical Engineering)
  • Bonifacio Duller III (College for Creative Studies, Automotive Design)
  • Cordell Durcholz (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Benjamin Falconer (McPherson College, Automotive Restoration & Communications)
  • Jacob Feenstra (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Reid Florence (University of Florida, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Arturo Flores (Southwest University at El Paso, Automation Technology)
  • Nathan Friedman (Riverside Community College, Automation Technology)
  • Clare Frigo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Trey Galgon (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Brianna Glowinski (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technical Supervision)
  • Samuel Griffith (Northwood University, Automotive Marketing & Management)
  • Christopher Hagen (University of Miami, Marketing)
  • John Haggerty (Michigan State University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Kali Holt (The University of Tennessee, Business Management)
  • Gregory Hovis (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Noah Jacobson (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Zachary Jones (Clemson University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Gable Kemna-Berg (Rio Hondo College, Automotive Technology)
  • Brendan King (University of St. Thomas, Accountancy)
  • Darren Kusumoto (Rio Hondo College, Automotive Technology)
  • Kenton Kyger (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Keilan Levesque (Texas A&M University, Computer Engineering)
  • Frank Lyons Jr. (Fayetteville Technical Community College, Automotive Technology)
  • Samuel Maner (The University of Alabama, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Broderick Medley (University of Dayton, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Devan Merkle (Universal Technical Institute of Pennsylvania, Automotive Technology)
  • Lauren Mims (Clemson University, Automotive Engineering & Technology)
  • Kyle Morris (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Sean Morton (Northwestern University, Materials Engineering)
  • Thomas Nelson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Judy Newman (Chattahoochee Technical College, Automotive Technology)
  • Christian Nisperos (University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Christopher Okumura (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Samuel Oliva-Perry (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Austin Owen (Western Michigan University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Eric Patrell (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Christian Pegouske (Auburn University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Casey Pepper (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Emma Powers (University of Akron, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Sarah Puder (Cuesta College, Liberal/General Studies)
  • Aidan Shannon (University of Kentucky, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Ashley Stamboulian (Villanova University, Finance)
  • Kyle Stewart (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Automotive Engineering & Technology)
  • Caleb Stringer (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Brett Suggs (High Point University, Marketing)
  • Nathan Thompson (University of Akron, Mechanical Engineering Technology)
  • Benjamin Tiemeyer (University of Northwestern Ohio, Diesel Technology)
  • Cole Trent (Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Stephen Trinklein (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Dylan Uribe (Cypress College, Automation Technology)
  • Luke Voldahl (Eastern Michigan University, Information Technology)
  • Brody Vrooman (Northeast Community College, Automation Technology)
  • Brian Walker (Kettering University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Darrell Walters (Western Kentucky University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Evan Wendling (Ferris State University, Engineering)
  • Jake Whelan (North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Mechanical Engineering)
  • William White-Griggs (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Connor Witham (Michigan State University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Madison Wong (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering)
  • Daniel Wright (Colorado School of Mines, Metallurgical Engineering)
  • Brandon York (Pittsburg State University, Automation Technology)

SEMA Loan Forgiveness Award Winners
Recipient (Employer, Institution Name, Major)

  • Andrew Balduf (Toyota Technical Center, University of Toledo, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Charles Becker III (University of Northwestern Ohio, University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Chelsea Beights (Transfer Flow Inc., California State University-Chico, Art Studio, Photography)
  • Edward Carroll (McGard LLC, SUNY College at Buffalo, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Trevor Chaney (Lane Automotive, University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology)
  • Ashlee Chramega (PPG, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Chemistry)
  • Nick D’Orazio (Fox Racing Shox, Georgia Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Collin Gentry (Meyer Distributing, University of Southern Indiana, Education)
  • Brett Gervais (K&N Engineering, Clarkson University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jeffrey Hidde (The Carlstar Group LLC, University of South Carolina-Columbia, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jacob Marshall (NHRA, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Motorsports & Mechanical Engineering)
  • Erin Mattay (Retro Manufacturing, College of Southern Nevada, Liberal/General Studies)
  • Adam Mihalko (Quirey Quality Design Co., Gannon University, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Justin Miles (Cummins Inc., Brigham Young University-Idaho, Advanced Vehicle Systems)
  • Chris Occhiogrosso (Xtreme Diesel Performance LLC, Monmouth University, Accounting)
  • Tyler Perkins (Hunter High School, Universal Technical Institute of Arizona, Automotive Technology)
  • Austin Rivera (Brandmotion LLC, College for Creative Studies, Fine Arts)
  • Josh Seaver (COMP Performance Group, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Automotive Engineering & Technology)
  • Alex Stivaletti (Detroit Speed Inc., NASCAR Technical Institute, Automotive Technology)
  • Austyn Sullivan-Watson (Momz Garage, University of Idaho, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Denise Waddingham (Dee Zee Inc., William Penn University, Business)

Student SEMA Jeep Builds Earn More Than $130K At Auction

The 2004 Jeep Wrangler customized by R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, TX, sold for $28,500 at auction. (photo credit: Collins Bros Jeep and Made Brand Studio)

Five Jeep Wranglers customized by students as part of this year’s SEMA High School Build Program have been sold for a combined $127,000. Bring a Trailer donated 100% of their buyers fees of $6,350 to bring the total earnings to $133,350.

The funds will be used by SEMA to provide another build opportunity to the same five schools and partner with five additional schools next year.

“We are thrilled by the results of the auctions and moved by how much the automotive community continues to support this program,” said Zane Clark, SEMASenior Director of Education. “Thanks to this support we are now looking to expand the program to include 10 schools next year, giving more students throughout the country an opportunity to take part in a hands-on vehicle build experience.”

Each of the five high schools received a Jeep Wrangler in early February 2019 to customize using donated aftermarket products from partnering sponsor companies. Upon completion the Jeeps were auctioned during SEMA Week of Customs by program partner Bring a Trailer Auction Site.

Results for each auction are:

Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (photo credit: Gerry Ruelas Photography)
  • July 15-22: 2005 Jeep Wrangler customized by the Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) in Santa Fe, NM. Sold for $26,000.
Comstock High School (photo credit: Beam Photography)

July 16-23: 2004 Jeep Wrangler customized by the Comstock High School auto shop in Kalamazoo, MI. Sold for $20,250.

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School (photo credit: SEMA)
  • July 17-24: 1997 Jeep Wrangler customized by Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Ynez, CA. Sold for $26,250.
C.D. Hylton High School (photo credit: Chris Cervenka Photography)
  • July 18-25: 2002 Jeep Wrangler customized by C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, VI. Sold for $26,000.
R.L. Turner High School (photo credit: Collins Bros Jeep and Made Brand Studio)
  • July 19-26: 2004 Jeep Wrangler customized by R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, TX. Sold for $28,500.

“We at Bring a Trailer were very excited to partner again with SEMA to auction these special custom Jeeps,” said Randy Nonnenberg, Bring a Trailer Co-founder & CEO. “Young enthusiasts are key to the future of the automotive hobby, and we applaud SEMA for furthering their investment in this program and these students. We are very happy to again be donating our entire 5% auction fees on these Jeeps to the same great cause.”

“We are grateful to all of the sponsors who have made this program possible,” Clark said. “To expand from a one-vehicle pilot program last year to 10 builds in our third year speaks volumes of our sponsors and their commitment to fostering the future generation of our industry.”

To learn more about the program and the vehicles, visit