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More than 150 students compete in Western Maryland Regional SkillsUSA competition

February 13, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Kayla Hott, a senior at Washington County Technical High School, takes part in the SkillsUSA competition in the culinary competition, hosted at Washington County Technical High School, Saturday in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Downstairs, hammers were pounding and drills were whirring.

Upstairs, brushes were teasing and hair products were spraying.

Throughout Washington County Technical High School, students were working and clocks were ticking.

More than 150 students competed Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the Western Maryland Regional SkillsUSA competition. The region includes Washington, Frederick, Allegany and Garrett counties.

Washington County Technical High School Principal Jeff Stouffer said SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit partnership of students, teachers and industry leaders with a goal of ensuring that America has a skilled work force.

“It’s a great way of saying, ‘Ready, set, go! Let’s see what you can do in four hours,'” Stouffer said.

The competition had 24 divisions in areas including culinary arts, health occupations, criminal justice, graphic communications and collision repair.

Wooden structures took form amid the noise of the carpentry workshop as teams of four students representing the carpentry, plumbing, electrical and masonry trades competed in the TeamWorks event. Yellow tape partitioned hard hat-clad students from parents and teachers who quietly looked on. As the clock ticked, judges from the local community rated teams in areas such as materials estimating, building codes and proper use of tools and equipment.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett said he attended the event to show support for the area’s future work force.

“When we get back to building homes, there are going to be big opportunities for jobs in this sector,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett was among a strong showing of elected officials at the competition, including Del. Neil C. Parrott, state Sen. Christopher B. Shank and a number of Washington County Commissioners. Representatives from area businesses also attended. Students sometimes receive internships or even gain employment as a result of the event, Stouffer said.

George Phillips, Supervisor of Career and Technology Education for Washington County Public Schools, said while many of the students competing in SkillsUSA will go on to work in the trade industries, others are prime candidates for higher education.

“Academic institutions are looking for kids with practical skills as well as strong academic background,” Phillips said. “The wave of the future is versatile students who understand how to work as a team and how to convert a design into something practical.”

Washington County Commissioner Jeffrey A. Cline said he was impressed with the skills of the students in the competition.

“What I saw, I just personally witnessed, was parents swelling with pride as they watched their kids working, just as other parents are full of pride and joy watching their kids play sports,” Cline said. “There is such a deep respect and joy when they see what their kids can do, and it’s a reminder of how important this program is to students and to the community.”

Deputy Carly Hose of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office served as a judge for the criminal justice and crime scene investigation divisions. Hose said the event helps to dispel misconceptions that many students have of what it means to be a police officer day to day.

“Report writing is a huge part of being a police officer. This helps them get an idea of that kind of thing up front so they can focus on strengthening those skills now in the classroom,” Hose said.

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SkillsUSA medals list

The following students from Washington County Technical High School received medals at Saturday’s SkillsUSA competiton.

Automotive service

First place — Devon Tyrell
Second place — Jacob Catlett
Third place — Heather Bartel

Carpentry

Second place — Ronald Neff
Third place — Tyler Gall

Collision repair

First place — Frances Hautz
Third place — Matt Jackson

Computer maintenance tech

First place — Derek Bonds
Second place — Garrett Thrailkill

Cosmetology

First place — Lauren Barber

Culinary arts

Second place — Kyrstin Colliflower
Third place — Kayla Hott

Esthetics

First place — Team Cheyenne Clever and Chantelle Harvie

Food and beverage service

First place — Stephanie Guessford
Third place — Ashley Shubert

Residential wiring

First place — Dillin Summers
Second place — Christopher Benner

Editor's note: This story was edited Feb. 13, 2012, to correct the spelling of Frances Hautz's first name in the list of Washington County students who won medals.

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