By Tanner Dearing
A select group of students from the high school went on a journey to compete in different events such as HVAC, Major Appliances, Team Works Construction and Cosmetology. In March, these kids participated in a statewide competition for their various skill sets.
When the students compete in Skills USA, they don’t just go against other students but also against themselves.
“My favorite part about competing would be to see who’s the best. Not only in the entire event, but those who have been working with me since the beginning,” senior Chris Leach said.
For Skills USA, these students work on ways to prepare for the competition. They even add time after school to practice their event and hone their skills.
“We did get together after school to help prepare ourselves by working on a build we were doing,” sophomore Garrett Dearing said.
In each event there are different jobs the students complete. For Garrett, his job with Team Works Construction differs from what everyone in that event has been signed to.
“We prepare and compete in different activities depending on what you’re in,” Garrett said. “There is plumbing, electrical team works, then you have all different tool naming. The list just goes on and on.”
However in Skills USA events, those students get the same task to complete, especially in HVAC and Major Appliances.
“We had to figure out what’s wrong with like a washing machine, dryer, fridge and even a stove,” senior Justin Brannock said. “That is the pretty interesting part of it.”
In Skills USA, only a set number of people can compete. With state and several other schools there, only the top few students have the opportunity.
“There is a limited amount, only four go for Skills USA Team Works, and the other events have only three,” Garrett said, “The top two go to state from district regionals.”
The opinions however for Skills USA are different for all the students that are participating in the events. It depends on how difficult it is or if the student actually enjoys the event.
“It is an excellent competition that engages students to compete not only to be better than the other young adults there but also to find a vocation to get into,” Chris said. “I think we should engage more kids into this program.”
Competing in Skills USA, students learn new things. Garrett said he had learned information that helped him while he was competing in his event.
“The Skills USA contest taught me on its own,” he said. “Some of the people there gave me information on where to put things. And the guys were quite useful about telling us the errors we had and how to fix them.”
Taking the trip to Corpus Christi for state was not cheap for students that qualified, so they had to come up with ways to raise money.
“There were fundraisers that we had to do for skills,” Garrett said. “We sold a $5 for a basketball game to use for an In ‘n Out burger cart that came through. And you could get like a burger, fries and a drink. But you had to have a ticket to get the food.”
Tanner Dearing is a PHS Journalism student and the story above is being featured as her final project.