Cakes were baking and hammers were swinging at the Skills USA regionals recently hosted at Kent Career Tech Center, where 400 students from across the state competed for scholarships and a chance to head to State and National Championships.
Baker College representative David Ladd presented scholarships to winners in each of the 30 different competitions which ranged from framing a wall, to baking and decorating a cake. First place winners received a $2000 scholarship, 2nd place winners a $1000 scholarship, and 3rd place winners got a $500 voucher toward textbooks.
Real Life Application
“These events get students started down the path toward their future careers,” said Deb Riolo, Skills USA’s Region 1 senior representative and Graphics Program instructor. Riolo shared how exciting it is to see students coming into schools after hours to work on their projects and hone their skills. “They really get into it,” she said.
The Skills USA competitions motivate students both to practice and then demonstrate what they learned in their programs. Construction students had to build a wall to code that included a window and a door. Plumbing students made a system out of PVC and copper that would be tested for accuracy and ability to hold pressure.
“The requirements are more detailed than what we do in school,” said contestant #498, Hannah Kaiserlian, a culinary student at the Tech Center. She was asked to fill a mock bakery order including pastries, rolls, and cake. “The bread was my favorite thing to make,” she said pointing to a tray of delicious looking, golden brown dinner rolls.
“It’s neat seeing students compete,” said Amy Badovinac, Tech Center Graphics instructor and one of the event coordinators. “The students often start out pretty shy at the beginning of the year, by the time of the competition they are making friends from different parts of the State.”
“The tech field is their life, so it’s good they get to develop camaraderie with other students in the same field,” said Badovinac.
The competitors also attended the State Leadership Conference in the fall, meeting students from other ISD’s. They rekindled these friendships at the event, where, in addition to competing against each other, they teamed up as a group to write 300 letters to send to soldiers.
“The competition is a good experience. It was fun and I got to meet new people,” said contestant Hannah Kaiserlian. “I just wish I could eat my cake.”