Hinderman: SD 230 students perform well at SkillsUSA competition
By Laura Hinderman Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2013 12:02PM
The Sandburg High School SkillsUSA Team performed well at the 49th annual Leadership and Skills Conference April 11-13 in Springfield. | Supplied photo
Updated: May 29, 2013 6:09AM
All three Consolidated High School District 230 high schools had students excel at the Illinois Association of SkillsUSA’s 49th annual Leadership and Skills Conference April 11-13 in Springfield.
The conference leadership and skill events were held at five locations in the capital, beginning April 11 with a contest briefing and opening ceremony, continuing on April 12 with all-day competitions and concluding April 13 with the awards ceremony.
SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are “preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations” to ensure America has a skilled workforce, according to its website.
Nearly 1,800 registered participants at the Springfield conference were supported by 300 or so business, organized labor and educational professionals who supervised and judged the competition and provided technical support.
John Nanney, of the applied technology department at Sandburg High School in Orland Park, said the automotive and computer maintenance students at Sandburg who participated in the conference started preparing for the written qualifying exam in January.
“We met almost every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. until Feb. 15 when they took the exam,” Nanney said.
He said the students who attended the conference all have a strong dedication to their education and to their future.
“They know the value of hard work and have spent quite a bit of their personal time preparing to compete against students across the state,” Nanney said. “In preparation for the written test, we reviewed materials based on the CompTia A+ certification, communication and interpersonal skills.”
The state competition involves not only a written test parallel to the CompTia A+ Certification but also five hands-on modules in which students are required to reconfigure or repair a computer with a problem similar to what they would find in a corporate environment.
“We spent every Tuesday from the end of February until April 9 preparing by recreating the scenarios they would be troubleshooting within my classroom. Basically they are acting as the “tech guys” at a company,” Nanney said. “It’s impressive how well run and realistic the scenarios are.
“The boys are then scored against the other 50 competitors within their specific competition and a winner is determined from those scores. To win state is quite a feat. I have qualified students in computer maintenance every year since 2007, and this is the first time I have had any student earn a rank higher than fourth.”
Sandburg’s automotive students prepared for their written test in a similar fashion — time outside of the school day, usually once or twice a week, learning extra and putting in their own time.
Ron Morris, Sandburg’s automotive teachers, is in his first year at the school and also teaches at Joliet Junior College. He said he provided his students with both high school and collegiate material/training in preparation for the state contest.
“These boys all did an amazing job preparing and competing,” Nanney said. “Their level of professionalism goes unmatched, and the knowledge they gained will last them a lifetime. I couldn’t be more proud to have my guys take what they learned in class and apply it to not only their competition but to their personal lives.”
Taking top honors at the state competition were Sandburg’s Tom Hahn, first place in Automotive Service Technology, and Bryan Kincaid, who came in first in Computer Maintenance Technology. Brendan McWilliams took second place in Computer Maintenance Technology.
The school also had the following students place in the Top 10 in their respective categories at the state conference: Bob O’Sullivan, fourth place in Related Technical Math and eighth place in Technical Drafting; Nico Voras, 9th place in Commercial Sewing; Matt Sommer, 10th place in Adobe Photoshop Design; and Ryan Jedloe, 10th place in Computer Maintenance Technology.