Tech students advance to state contest

February 07, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HAGERSTOWN -- More than 100 students from four technical schools in Western Maryland competed Saturday in the 2009 Maryland SkillsUSA Western Region championships at Washington County Technical High School.

Students competed to be among the top three finishers in 15 trade and technical skill areas and advance to the state championships in Baltimore County in March, said Marjorie Kellman, the lead SkillsUSA adviser for Washington County Technical High School.

After finishing ninth in the state last year in carpentry as a junior, Andrew Houser, 17, of Downsville, said he felt better about his chances of winning.

"I enjoy it," said Houser, who has worked with his uncle since he was 14. "It's just something that when you're done, you can stand back and look at the house and you can say, 'I did that.'"


Kellman announced later Houser qualified for the state competition by finishing third.

Kellman said students from Washington County Technical High School and Frederick County's Career and Technology Center each netted seven of the regional titles. The Allegany County Center for Career and Technical Education captured the other, but Kellman said two more skills competitions are not scheduled to be decided until next week in Allegany County, where students from Garrett County will have another chance to qualify.

"Winning certainly is an achievement for the school, but it's more of a student achievement than anything else," Kellman said. "Bragging rights are there, too, though."

Last year, Kellman said a Washington County student won a national SkillsUSA championship for the first time. Erica Conrad took first place in culinary arts and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

Students competing in the cake decorating skill area were challenged to spread no more than 6 pounds of icing on two different types of cakes.

Corryn Wheatley of Walkersville, Md., said she had to decorate round and square cakes with "welcome home" and musical instrument themes.

Her work was deemed the best, topping fellow Frederick CTC student Tiffany Stull, also of Walkersville.

What began as something fun for Stull to do ended up planting aspirations to open a bakery and a restaurant, she said.

"I just tried it and realized that I was actually somewhat good and so I decided to keep trying," Stull said

Wheatley said she was following her mother's footsteps in cake decorating and hopes to open a vegan bakery.

"This is a good real life-learning experience for these kids -- not only this program, but all the programs," said Jim Cameron, Washington County's criminal justice instructor as students investigated a homicide scene for the crime scene investigation competition. "This is what I like is where the rubber meets the road, it's the real life ..."

The following students from Washington County Technical High School qualified Saturday for the Maryland SkillsUSA championships in Baltimore County in March.


o Cosmetology

First -- Shelby Lewis

Second -- Magdala Pierre

Third -- Anna Hoover

o Culinary arts

First -- Rebecca Junkins

Second -- Nick Kendle

Third -- Jessica Berry

o Automotive refinishing

First -- Bobby Bowers

Second -- Ben Madison

o Collision repair

First -- Chris Hornbaker

Second -- Dustin Horchner

o Nail care

First -- Caroline Rhodes

Second -- Mary Kate Martin

o Nursing assisting skills

First -- Kyesha Davis

o Residential wiring

Second -- Josh Shives

o Cake decorating

Third -- Cassandra Poole

o Carpentry

Third -- Andrew Houser

o Computer maintenance technician

Third -- Conrad Graybill

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