Red jackets filled the halls of Thomson High School last Thursday. More than 150 students from 23 school systems competed in 30 career and technology events as THS hosted the Skills USA region six competition.
Skills USA, formerly known as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America or VICA, decided to have one of eight state-wide competitions at THS because of the available facilities as well as the knowledge of Thomson's coordinator Bobby Anthony.
Brittany Myers gives CPR to a dummy during the competition.
But according to McDuffie County Superintendent of Schools Mark Petersen, the competition was "a great opportunity for us and our students."
"We are pleased to be able to host it," he said just after the opening ceremonies.
The competition consisted of trade and industrial contests such as carpentry, masonry, and mechanics. Health occupations students also competed in events such as first aid/CPR. Leadership contests like public speaking and quiz bowl also took place during the day-long competition.
The top two winners in each event will go on to the state competition in May. Thomson had several winners that will make that trek. Jason Burton took first in the automotive competition; Scott Jenkins won the plumbing contest. Other THS students placed well in cabinet making and diesel mechanics.
Southeast Bulloch High School student Brittany Myers was the first student from her school to ever compete in the first aid/CPR event. She said they traveled 115 miles to compete at THS.
"I'm a little worried, but I've prepared," Brittany said right before her event that was judged by McDuffie County firefighters and first responders. "I take health occupations in high school. I've even taken nursing classes to prepare."
According to Mr. Anthony, for THS to be able to host the successful event was a great honor. But it wasn't just the school that got involved.
Several local businesses hosted events, such as Two State Construction where the carpentry competition was held. Also, local experts in career and technology areas were called in to judge the competitions.
"We had great participation from the community and the schools," said Mr. Anthony, who has been working on the logistics of the competition for about two months.
THS will host the event next year as well. After the second year of hosting, the event will be moved to another school in the region.