Polytech students excited to attend SkillsUSA national competition in June

Polytech High School will send more than 30 students to the SkillsUSA national competition next month.

Student Activities Director Richard Carter said SkillsUSA is a program where students vie against their peers from the six vocational schools in Delaware in their respective trade, or compete in other areas such as leadership, prepared speech, job interview and job demonstration. Students are required to compete in their own field of study with their theme chosen by national SkillsUSA representatives.

The program gives students an outlet to test their acquired knowledge learned since September, Carter said.

This year, 31 Polytech students won first place in the state contest, propelling them to the nationals in Kansas City, Mo. On average, Carter said the school sends 28 to 33 students to the nationals each year. He’s looking forward to this year’s trip, he added.

“To see the students’ excitement and joy that they get of competing in this contest is unbelievable,” he said.

Israel Simmons assured himself a trip to Kansas City after building a dormer and capturing first place. A dormer is a small window, made to appear like another room, and placed on a sloping roof surface.

The senior built his all-wood dormer in a timed, six hour contest at Beracah Homes in Greenwood. He admitted being a little nervous, but didn’t expect to attain first place. The hardest part was to keep from worrying about the other competitors and staying focused on his project.

In fact, the representatives at Beracah were so impressed with Simmons’ dormer that it will be fabricated onto a modular home in Virginia.

Meanwhile juniors Amber Murawski and Kristen French beat out the competition in the Occupational Health and Safety Manual contest. Murawski said they checked different technical shops at Polytech, reporting on safety hazards by taking pictures of what was potentially unsafe. Afterward, they made up new safety regulations.
Murawski said it was challenging inspecting the rooms, figuring out what pictures best represented their findings and getting others to complete their surveys.

Overall, Carter said even if the students don’t bring home any national accolades, the many student awards won at the state level reflects positively on the teachers and staff at Polytech.

“When you go to nationals, it’s the icing on the cake, it’s the best of the best in the nation,” he said. “It’s very hard for students to place out there but our kids do well.”