SkillsUSA brings home the gold

Posted 5/11/21

Powell High School’s SkillsUSA team was named the champion chapter in Class 3A during its April competition. The chapter’s victory was elevated by wins in various individual or team …

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SkillsUSA brings home the gold


Powell High School’s SkillsUSA team was named the champion chapter in Class 3A during its April competition. The chapter’s victory was elevated by wins in various individual or team competitions, racking up five gold medals and three silvers.

In the pre-conference welding contest, seniors Andy Beavers, Daniel Rasmussen and Stephen Dahl worked together to build a portable table for cutting with a torch or plasma cutter as their project. The materials were supplied and the students had to measure, mark, fit and weld the table in eight hours’ time. Beavers and Dahl plan on attending Northwest College to become certified in welding. Beavers also wants to obtain his commercial driver’s license and Dahl may open his own welding business. Rasmussen also plans to go to NWC in applied science, looking toward a career working in the wind energy sector. 

Maggie Cappiello also endured some heat in her competition, but of a different nature. She took a gold medal in commercial baking. She was given recipes for a soft frosted sugar cookie and a yeast bread braid. She also had to fill supplied puff pastries and decorate a small cake. Cappiello won a stand mixer along with the gold medal, and is taking concurrent classes at Northwest College in baking. Cappiello also competed in extemporaneous speaking.

Senior Crystal Emmett earned a silver medal in early childhood development. She had to develop a lesson plan on a book she selected from a variety offered. She selected “Pout, Pout Fish” and also had to take a test and go through an interview on the lesson. Emmett was within a point or two of taking home the gold medal, judges told her. She plans to pursue a career in cosmetology.

Owen Fink won a gold medal in job interview and a duffel bag for his efforts. He was also part of the robotics urban search and rescue team with Kalin Hicswa. Both are sophomores and will return to the program next year. Fink was out of school that day, but Hicswa said the robotic event was very challenging.

“We had to troubleshoot a ton of stuff,” during the competition, Hicswa said. The robot had to perform various assigned tasks that had search and rescue  applications. 

Olivia Lobinger won a silver medal for her photography and a duffel bag as well. She said her interest in photography is a hobby; she will attend the University of Wyoming in anthropology. 

Jenna Merritt won a gold medal in advertising design. She has been accepted to the University of Utah at Logan where she plans to study anthropology. Her in-person competition consisted of an assigned product — a catering company — for which she created an advertising campaign. She created a catering menu, three logos and the front and back of a tri-fold handout. She had to select the fonts as well as come up with the ideas and information for the tri-fold. Although advertising seems to be a long way from anthropology, “I definitely think the things I learned getting ready for this will be helpful in whatever I do,” Merritt said.

Bailee Moore, a senior, won two gold medals: one in customer service and the other in restaurant service. She described her competitions as hectic, but a lot of fun. 

Moore describes herself as a quiet kid and said SkillsUSA brought her out of her shell. She has been working in a restaurant for four years, and was in the culinary program when teacher Denise Laursen recruited her for SkillsUSA.

“She saw something in me and dragged me to Skills,” Moore said. Her restaurant competition included preparing eight different napkin folds, setting a table for fine dining and seating the judges who served as customers. She then had to wait the table, performing a skill table side. Moore selected preparing Caesar salad as her skill. 

Customer service was a virtual competition. Moore had five minutes to prepare as a customer service technician on a telephone call for a cleaning service. She was given the scenario for the Zoom “call” and competition, and then had to answer the call and field the caller’s questions and concerns. She plans to attend Northwest College, then transfer to UW for a business degree.

Triniti Bruski was also a competitor in photography. A senior, she plans to attend Northwest College in pre-professional sciences.

The quiz bowl team also saw competition, finishing out of the medals.   

SkillsUSA is a national organization and school program that targets students in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including those in health care.