A team of Delaware Area Career Center students celebrate after taking first place in the Engineering Technology and Design competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, last month. From left to right on podium: Will Johnson, Westerville South; Josh Robinson, Buckeye Valley; and Lincoln Hennell, who was homeschooled. The trio graduated in May.

Courtesy photo | Delaware Area Career Center

Three Delaware Area Career Center students took first place at the National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta last month.

The DACC team of Will Johnson, Lincoln Hennell, and Josh Robinson competed at the national level of the Engineering Technology and Design competition after succeeding locally and taking first place in Ohio earlier this year. The team took 11th place as juniors last year, and the members said they were determined to take first place this year.

“It feels amazing to see the progress our team has made over the course of the past two years,” said Robinson, who just graduated from Westerville South High School. “It was a huge relief to see all our hard work culminate in such an achievement!”

Hennell agreed, adding the first place achievement “felt fulfilling.”

“After two years of developing our project and countless hours of planning, researching and designing, stepping on that podium made it all worth it,” Hennell, who was homeschooled and graduated in May, said. “We couldn’t have had a better end to our senior year!”

Robinson said he felt teamwork was critical to their success, and he felt the presentation at nationals was the toughest part of the competition.

“I didn’t expect myself ending up here in the beginning, however, I think each of us were able to fill a role in our team that allowed us to reach this achievement,” Robinson said. “I think the hardest part of the competition was the presentation to the judges. Personally, I felt a lot of pressure in that moment since this was a make or break moment after months of hard work.”

Robinson said he will be attending the University of Cincinnati and majoring in mechanical engineering in the fall.

Hennell added collaboration was a key part of their process.

“One of the most important things I learned is to always consider ideas from everyone, even if the idea seems unfeasible at first,” Hennell said. “Considering multiple opinions always pays off.”

Hennell said the hardest part of the competition was the engineering design challenge.

“We were tasked to build a one-sided drawbridge with a working crank and pulley,” he said. “We had very limited materials and had to put a lot of effort into making the bridge strong while also conserving materials. In the end it worked great!”

Hennell said he plans to work at ATS Automation full time this summer and will attend Columbus State in the fall for the Modern Manufacturing Work Study.

The DACC was also represented at the event by Zoey SanFillipo, who attended the event representing Ohio as a state officer, as well as Gavin Bull, who served as a national voting delegate. Both students filled leadership roles within the SkillsUSA organization and spent the week meeting with students across the country to discuss amendments to the SkillsUSA constitution and bylaws, and to elect new national officers.

Additionally, DACC students Elisha Morton and Parker Spence also competed in Mechatronics, an emerging category for the organization that focuses on automation and manufacturing, and Carson Marshall and Max Sanclemente competed in Audio and Radio Production.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.