Skills USA Sponsors Welding Competition at PCHS

Two students each from five different area high schools recently converged at the New River Community College Welding Lab to compete for titles and prizes in the SkillsUSA sponsored regional welding competition.  The top two winners of this regional competition move onto the state championship being held this year in Virginia Beach.  Whoever wins that competition will compete in the Skills USA national event held in Louisville, Ky.

Students from five local high schools competed in the SkillsUSA Regional Welding Competition, hosted by PCHS CTE and held at the NRCC Welding Lab. The regional competition, which ran from 8:00am to 4:00pm on January 25, included a written exam as well as testing the students’ skill and knowledge in welding. Students can win scholarships, welding gear and welding equipment in the SkillsUSA competition. Pictured from L-R are: PCHS Welding Instructor Bobby Petty, PCHS CTE students Zach Lovingood and Isis Ramirez. Isis was the single female student in the competition.
(Danielle Reid photo)

According to PCHS welding instructor Bob Petty,“This year’s competition is being sponsored by Tread Corporation, located in Roanoke.  While PCHS is hosting it, New River Community College has generously donated the use of their Welding Lab for the actual competition.  PCHS has competed in this welding competition for the past seven years and students participating in this regional competitioin can win valuable prizes donated by Tread, such as welding gear, equipment or metal materials for welding.”

The top three students winning the regional competition can win a $5,000.00 scholarship to Ohio Tech College.  At the state competition, the top three will win a $10,000 scholarship; and the national winner receives a $40,000 scholarship.

Those students who won the regional SkillsUSA Welding Competition in Dublin are:

First Place – Ryan Whiting from Jackson River Technical Center in Covington, instructor Huffman

Second Place – Cameron Crush from  Botetourt Technical Education Center in Fincastle, instructor Linkenhoker

Third Place – Jacob Byer from Jackson River Technical Center in Covington, instructor Huffman

And, First Place in Metals – Brandon Dillon – Burton Center for Arts and Technology in Salem, instructor Overfelt.

CJ Caudill, Vice President of Operations & Procurement at Tread Corporation stated “This year’s welding project was designed by Jim Truskey of Tread and kept under wraps until the actual competition.  There is also a written test which the students must pass.  The three welding competition judges, Kevin Kern, Tony Lucado and Ken Barnett are also employees of Tread Corporation.”

In order to qualify their students for the SkillsUSA competition, high school welding instructors review the students’ grades, attitude, attendance/absenteeism. The student must be a dues-paying member of SkillsUSA.  Dues are less than $15.00 per year.

Schools represented in the regional competition were Pulaski County High School, Giles High School in Pearisburg, Jackson River Technical Center in Covington, Botetourt Technical Education Center located in Fincastle, and Burton Center for Arts and Technology in Salem.

Skills USA, founded in 1965, is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.  SkillsUSA helps each student excel by providing educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms.

The philosophy of SkillsUSA championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

For information about SkillsUSA go to:  www.SkillsUSA.org

By DANIELLE REID, The Patriot