Engineers of Tomorrow: Joshua (11) and Matthew (9) Flewitt

As curious children, we’ve all taken apart a mechanical pencil and put the pieces back together to make it whole. Joshua Flewitt (11) and Matthew Flewitt (9) took rebuilding to another level by participating in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge last summer. 

The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge is a chance for prospective engineers to showcase their engineering talents by deconstructing an engine into its constituent parts and correctly reassembling them it within 120 minutes. The teams confront this daunting task under the eyes of five judges who judge them on precision, speed, and accuracy. Points are deducted for every error committed in this rebuilding process. While the competition is extremely stressful, the top competitors can earn up to $10,000 in scholarship money and receive a head start in the engineering world with their experience and skills. “The better you place, the more money you get,” says Joshua. 

The duo was attending summer school in an auto shop at Rancho Alamitos when they discovered this amazing opportunity. Interested, they formed a group of five boys. The team met every day for three hours after summer school and four days a week during the school year to prepare for the upcoming competition. To practice, they organized their tools and oiled parts of an engine to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy. The tremendous efforts, hours, and practice devoted to the competition certainly paid off when they finished reconstructing an engine in just 5 minutes and 35 seconds, which is the average time after penalties were calculated. The Flewitts and their team reached the finals in Las Vegas and ultimately ranked third in California. They will receive their scholarship money later this year. 

Their success in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge puts the brothers at a huge advantage to other potential young engineers. “I feel pretty happy. It was a great experience to do this,” Joshua reflects. For the time being, the brothers have not decided on their careers, but they agree that engineering is a possibility. They encourage all high school students interested in the field to participate in the contest but warn that the journey will be tough. “It’s a huge time commitment,” Matthew says. “If you’re at a different school, you will have to travel to the competition every day and stay there until 5 p.m.”