Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:34PM - 255 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

More than 600 students from as far away as Columbus participated the the 2013 SkillsUSA Ohio South Central Regional Championships Saturday at the Scioto County Career Technical Center on Vern Riffe Drive in Lucasville.

“It’s a regional contest, which means we have people from Buckeye Hills, the Gallipolis area, and it goes all the way up to Columbus, and then we (SCCTC) may be the furthest west, but this includes that entire block of the state, the southeast region,” Stan Jennings, Superintendent at SCCTC said. “What they do is, they have the kids who are proficient in their areas compete. There’s some other things - team leadership things they also do.”

Among the skills being contested were automotive refinishing, basic health care, carpentry, criminal justice, nurse assisting, welding and scores more.

“We have about 20 different school districts who come to our county, visit our campus, see beautiful southern Ohio, and they get to compete in a lot of different areas,” Jay Moore, an instructor at SCCTC said. “The kids come here and it’s great competition. I’ve coached for a lot of years and I compare this to the competition in athletics, because we don’t have sports teams here, but we do compete against other teams, and this is maybe more relevant because these kids are going to go on to do in their professional life what they are doing now. So they are competing against other people doing that. So it’s great. We love it.”

Involvement reaches beyond the students of the area.

“Really it’s a community event,” Jennings said. “You’re going to see a lot of our locals that are judges, that are working in this. There’s a lot of people from the (Southern Ohio Medical Center) hospital. The Carpenter’s Union is here judging the carpentry contest.”

With that sort of audience, the competition could just as easily be labeled an audition.

“They asked if we wanted to sponsor it (carpentry competition), so I told them we would sponsor it, and we have prizes for first, second and third place, so we’re just trying to see what kind of youth we have that may be interested in the trades, and hopefully bring some of them in when they graduate high school,” Trampas Puckett of Carpenters Local 437 said. “This is a good thing. It’s good for the kids, so we’re just trying to help the community out in any way that we can. There’s 12 schools that are entered into this, so we’re reaching way out there. We’re going to see what we’ve got to help add to the carpenters we already have. We’re always looking for apprentices, and what the school out here does is give these kids a leg up on somebody that doesn’t have this vocational experience when they come into our apprenticeship program.”

Josh Blevins, assistant training director for the apprenticeship program for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 525, had his notepad in hand as he watched competing students work on the wiring of a residence.

“We’re judging the residential electrical side,” Blevins said. “There’s three parts to the competition - the residential side; the commercial side as well as the written exam - they are given a packet with all the instructions. They are given a list of tools that they need to bring with them, and then we give them all the instructions and materials they will need to do the installation.”

It looked like a hospital room, but it was really an instruction facility in the Allied Health building, and competitors were taking care of a mock patient, Drew Hughes, by checking his vitals.

“They are checking off for skills in the nursing assisting program,” Cassandra Falls, Adult Health Program Administrator, said. “We’re evaluating their competency in checking off each skill, step by step, making sure they follow each step along the way.”

An awards ceremony at Valley High School climaxed the day’s activities.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.

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