Louise Drow helped develop Aloha High School's auto-tech program nearly 20 years ago.

COURTESY PHOTO: BEAVERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT - Beaverton automotive technology teacher Louise Drow won a pair of national awards.Beaverton School District teacher Louise Drow will receive a pair of national awards this week.

SkillsUSA, a nonprofit with more than 340,000 student and teacher members that offers competitions and curriculum across 130 trade and technical occupations, will present Drow with its "honorary life" and outstanding educator awards at its national leadership and skills conference Wednesday, June 22, in Atlanta.

As an automotive technology instructor, Drow oversees the only high school automotive program in Oregon to hold Automotive Service Excellence certification, a credential that streamlines students' paths into professional garages.

"Originally I was hired to get the program ASE-certified. They gave me five years to do it, and we did it in a couple of years," Drow said. "Our program really makes a difference with students gives them that step ahead out in the real world."

The "honorary life" is SkillsUSA's highest honor, "reserved for those who dedicate service to the organization over a long period of time."

Drow has spent over 30 years in automotive classrooms, first in Arizona before moving to Oregon some 20 years ago.

In 2003, Drow helped develop a half-day automotive technician program at Aloha High School. Today, that program draws 80 high school juniors and seniors from across the district, and Drow estimates 80% continue on to further education or employment in the auto industry. Through SkillsUSA's auto skills competition — in which Drow once competed as a student in Arizona — Beaverton has finished in the top three in Oregon in 13 of the past 15 years.

"A lot of our students are also employed, or at least they know as soon as they graduate they can go to a dealership. We're training kids to become technicians, kids who are engaged and want to be there," Drow said. "Always I enjoy seeing them go from not knowing anything to seeing them be able to troubleshoot a car and fix it correctly. It's a really neat feeling to see how well they do."

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!