Four juniors from the Delaware Area Career Center were recently awarded scholarships after they competed in a SkillsUSA competition.
Welding students Tyler Brown, Jordan Cash, and Jacob Rufener competed in the Regional SkillsUSA Welding Fabrication Competition and were given a month to design, blueprint, and create a bookshelf.
“You had to get the design down, you had to lay everything out on a piece of metal, and you had to have documentation of all of us cutting it, putting it together and laying it out,” Cash, the lone senior in the group, said.
Cash said the team had to take a written test about their skills, knowledge and the lab, and then had to do an interview with the judges.
Cash added his team went up against seven other teams and took home gold.
“It was pretty neat,” he said. “We kind of knew that we were at least going to place in the top three, and when we heard the other two teams we thought did better than us get third and second, we freaked.”
Cash said the team learned new skills including how to use a CNC Plasma Table during the project.
Rufener, Cash’s teammate, is deaf and uses a translator in class. Brown said during the project, they learned to overcome the communication barrier and function as one.
“We kind of know how to talk to him without using signs now,” Brown said.
Rufener shrugged nonchalantly when he was asked about the communication barrier, adding, “I really don’t feel like there was a barrier. I feel like we worked smoothly.”
DACC Welding Instructor Bradley DeMent praised the students and said he believed they worked well as a team.
“Going into the competition you just never know what it’s going to be,” DeMent said. “There’s no set (requirement), so it’s really about creativity. Their final project worked exceptionally well. They’re a good team. They work exceptionally well.”
DeMent said he really enjoys the SkillsUSA competition because it brings out the best in his students.
“I really enjoy the competitions,” he said. “It brings out the best, and it’s real world. It’s nice to put your skills and compare to other schools and students in the region and see how you stack up. They can see what we do in here, that we’re actually doing good things and doing things for a reason. All their hard works pays off when they win a competition like this.”
The gold award in the competition also came with a $5,000 scholarship. The students said they are looking forward to the regional competition on April 24 and 25.
Additionally, DACC auto collision student Cameron Mattox entered a SkillsUSA competition in an individual collision repair category and won third place, taking home a $2,500 scholarship.
Mattox said he had to take a fender, prep it and blend paint, and then clear coat it. Mattox added he also had to take an ASE test.
“I was really honored,” Mattox said. “I wasn’t expecting it. “
Three of Mattox’s classmates were working with Mattox on a chapter display project for another SkillsUSA competition while he was working on the fender project. He said working on both projects was a good experience because they could bounce ideas back and forth.
“We learned things along the way, and it helps us to compete next year. Plus, it helps for chapter display,” said William Henderson, an auto collision student in Mattox’s group said. “It’s all of our skills put into one project.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.