A group of Science Hill students recently returned to Johnson City after winning the gold medal in the SkillsUSA TeamWorks State Competition in Chattanooga last week. Science Hill seniors Evan Jones, Cade Fleeman and Karter Richmond, along with Science Hill junior Alberto Vidales, brought home the gold medal for the Toppers.
“There is just something special about this group of four and I am very proud of these students,” Science Hill Construction teacher Robbie Tester said. “This group worked really well together and it showed with them winning it all.”
Tester and his counterpart, construction teacher Rich Murray, had a team bring home a gold medal in the same competition in 2018. Similar to the 2018 group, this year’s win has qualified the foursome for the National SkillsUSA Competition that will be held in Atlanta in June.
“We just worked really well together,” Fleeman said. “It was awesome. We had practiced together, but everyone really surprised each other with how well we worked.”
In the TeamWorks Competition, teams of four students are required to build a construction project over a few days, which demonstrates their ability to work together as a team. Each team is required to understand the project elements based on a detailed blueprint and special instructions presented at the pre-competition orientation. Each team must write a project completion “action plan” and present their “action plan” as one of the “key” elements of the competition (all team members must participate during the presentation). During the “construction project”, the team demonstrates their ability to work together by using their carpentry, roofing, electrical, plumbing and masonry skills.
The Science Hill group split into two pairs to complete the floor and wall framing. Jones then handled the electric, Vidales took care of the masonry work and Richmond tackled the plumbing. Fleeman provided support where he was needed. The group had four hours on the first day and eight hours on the second day to read the plans and complete the project.
Besides grading the structure, students are also judged on having a completed resume, as well as taking the structure down safely.
“The competition was fun, and it was a great opportunity,” Jones said. “This is fun work, and I really enjoy doing it.”
Jones was able to take advantage of a new electrical class at Science Hill, which is also a dual enrollment class with Northeast State Community College. He has his high school instructor, Murray, but will get four hours of college credit once he successfully completes the course. He started pursuing a career path in construction during his freshmen year at Science Hill.
“The teachers get you involved on the very first day,” Jones said about the program. “You get to come down here and have fun, and use your hands to create things. It’s a skill that I really think I will use a lot in life.”
Jones said that he plans on pursuing his electrical certification after high school and he will also look at working with HVAC systems. While Fleeman isn’t quite sure of his career path - he has plans of suiting up for East Tennessee State University for football in the Fall - he said the skills he learned will help him no matter the future he selects.
“This CTE program is great at Science Hill, especially the construction program,” Fleeman said. “They’ve taught us a lot, and they’ve opened up a lot of future career opportunities for us. (Rich) Murray and (Robbie) Tester both have years of on-the-job experience, and they really enjoy passing their knowledge on to us.”
For more information about the construction program or other Career and Technical Education programs at Science Hill High School, please visit sciencehill.jcschools.org/CTE.