V-S students headed to national, world skills competition

The 49th annual Skills-USA national Leadership and Skills Conference is set to begin today with 16 students from Vanguard-Sentinel ready to participate in the national contest.

Competition for the chapter display is to begin Tuesday at the conference site in Kansas City, Mo. This year’s display, titled “Prepared with the Skills American Needs,” was designed to represent students becoming prepared with all the skills, Eric Radford said.

Radford, a 2013 graduate from Upper Sandusky and Sentinel’s building trades program, is one of three students on the presentation team. The others are senior Alex Martinez, a precision machining student, and Brett Cassidy, an electrical trades student. Both are from Hopewell-Loudon High School.

The display, made of steel, plywood, sheet metal, and plastic, shows a motorized tulip opening up to the Skills-USA emblem. The flower is raised above 11 pillars bracing a cut out of Ohio. It rises several levels representing the 11 programs at Sentinel and several local and national levels, Radford had said.

The display cost about $3,800 and more than 600 hours to complete.

For the competition, Radford has to present a six-minute speech that is to be judged. He said he competed at the national level last year and learned the competition is a good way to work well with one another.

“We want to win,” Cassidy said. “But it is a good experience to meet different people that you would not normally meet.”

During the state competition, Martinez said, “This display is a good example of what a technical school is. It has been (an) honor to do and a tribute to all the programs.”

The teamworks team also has been preparing for national competition. The team includes four recent graduates: Salvador Cantero III of Fostoria, Austin Kelbley of Mohawk, Jacob Serviss of Seneca East and Jacob Welly of New Riegel.

The team spends roughly five hours a day preparing for the competition whether in their specific fields or together at Sentinel, Serviss said.

The competition is a two-day building competition followed by a presentation of a building plan given by the team. The competition for the team is to take place Tuesday through Thursday.

“It has been a good time,” Cantero III said.

The team said collectively that they would like to win, but they are learning skills they can take with them, such as leadership, skills they have learned in class and working more efficiently together.

The awards ceremony is to take place at 6 p.m. June 28.

Following the national Skills-USA competition is to be the World-Skills competition July 2-7.

Anthony Costantini, of Greensprings, and Jarrod Nichols of Clyde, are to compete in the two-member Skills-USA World Team in the mechatronics competition.

Costantini has received an associate’s of applied science in mechanical engineering technology from Terra State Community College. Nichols is studying engineering at University of Toledo. Both are former students of the Vanguard Technology Center in Fremont, participating in the engineering technology and robotics program.

Costantini and Nichols earned the right to represent the United States by winning the silver medal in the mechatronics competition during the National Skills-USA Championships in 2010.

“This is to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Nichols said. “I have been working with Costantini since 2009, now that we are older it is easier to work together, we’ve grown up a lot.”