Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Tech Students Place High in Skills Competition ; Skills: Contest Includes Written Test, Demonstration

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Tech Students Place High in Skills Competition ; Skills: Contest Includes Written Test, Demonstration

Article excerpt

Students at Washburn Institute of Technology brought home a second-place medal and 12 spots in the top 10 in a national competition testing their proficiency in a variety of career skills.

Corey Petit, of Berryton, who graduated from Washburn Tech this spring, placed second in the auto collision division of the SkillsUSA Championships this June in Louisville, Ky.. He also had placed second last year.

Petit, 18, said the auto collision competition had four parts: getting dents out of a metal fender, repairing a plastic bumper, welding two pieces of metal and doing a "structural analysis" on a sample car. The final part involves looking at the frame and tire alignment and using the car computers, if relevant, to see how damaged a car is, he said.

"They had actual wrecked cars and we had to read the data off the machine to see what was wrong with it," he said.

Petit, who now attends Washburn University, said he isn't sure if he will use his car-repair skills in a career, but he enjoyed testing his skills and watching the other students compete in their fields. He credited his success in the national competition to his instructors and advisers at Washburn Tech.

"It's a good opportunity," he said. "You get to meet a lot of people in the industry."

Eric Showalter, an instructor in the collision repair program, praised Petit's work ethic.

"After school was out, he called to see what days I would be at school so he could come out and practice," he said. "He did not give up on preparing for SkillsUSA just because school was out and he had graduated."

Each state has its own SkillsUSA competition and can send its top three finishers for each category to the national championship. The fields covered range from three-dimensional design on a computer to aviation maintenance, carpentry, baking, cosmetology, firefighting, masonry, photography, T-shirt design and welding. …

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