By Collin Brooks
A trio of David Crockett students brought home state championships in the Tennessee SkillsUSA Competitions last week. The three championship finishes came from Bradley Moore (computer numerical controlled technician), Jayden McCurry (CNC milling) and Tyler Emert, who brought home first place in the graphic communication category. The three will now move on to the SkillsUSA National Championships this summer in Louisville, Kentucky.
David Crockett student’s Skyler Woodby grabbed a bronze in masonry, while Ashley Basinger took a bronze finish in nail care.
Having so many students perform so well was encouraging to David Crockett Digital Arts teacher Dillon Roberts.
“I think it shows that we are catching up to the 21st century and finally getting all of the technologies that we need in here to get the kids the tools they need to be successful in competition and later in life,” Roberts said.
Roberts said many of the students that cross his path are surprised when they first learn just how much graphic designing surrounds them.
“They realize that graphics and design are a part of their every day life, they see graphic designs and T-shirt designs every day and it touches them in everything they do,” Roberts said.
David Crockett shop class teacher Daniel Maupin said students often come to his class unaware of the careers that can be attained without a college degree. The kids that have been successful in his class and program are usually able to find jobs.
“We’ve had several that have been successful in state competitions and went on to national and have done well,” Maupin said. “There are a lot of kids that have come through here and are employed and doing very well.”
Maupin has former students working for some of the biggest manufacturing companies in the area.
“These guys that come through, they have a chance to go to work and be successful, without choosing the college path if they don’t want to. If they want to, there are a lot of opportunities there too. So they can be successful either way, but they can come out of here and do work.”
Moore, a sophomore, said that is one thing that intrigued him about shop class.
“I don’t have to go and take 10 years of my life to get a degree and make money,” he said. “I can go right now and go straight to somewhere and work and learn all of the things that I need while I’m on the job.”
He was in his first competition during the state meet and he said earning the win gave him a sense of accomplishment.
“For it being my first time ever going, it feels good and I am very proud,” Moore said.
McCurry took his first trip to compete, but he was able to serve as an observer during last year’s competition, which was helpful.
“It helped me understand what to expect,” he said. “I didn’t have the pressure of competing, but I was comfortable in the surroundings. So I tried to explain to the people that were going down for the first time, what to expect. Because that is what they did for me last year.”
But even with that confidence, McCurry said he was still a bit of a nervous wreck. After he completed his competition during the first day on Monday, he had to wait a few days to find out how he did.
“It was kind of nerve racking,” McCurry said. “But I guess it turned out good.”
McCurry plans to either become a CNC operator or go down the medical field path, but he said that he will take the two year route at Northeast State Community College to figure out the exact route he would like to pursue.
He might not have taken the career and technical path if he hadn’t been exposed to it at his high school.
“It let me know that I enjoy it and might want to make a career out of it,” he said. “It’s something that I actually like to do, and that is important in a career choice.”
Emert, a junior, said that he enjoyed the work he does outside of a standard classroom. During his competition, he used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator programs to create a banner.
Being exposed to the SkillsUSA program in high school also lets him know what he might be interested in pursuing in college.
“It is something I plan on tacking and making a job, I really hope to go to school for graphic design,” he said. “I like to be creative and do my own work. It’s something that you can do on your own.”
The group is looking for donations in order to make the trip, interested parties can contact Roberts at (423) 946-0266.