MMCRU advances Skills USA team to nationals

Thursday, June 2, 2022
MMCRU students taking part in the Iowa Skills USA competition, were front from left, Hayven Hollished, Dawson Pick, Brenin Stodden, Torey Tentinger, Makenzie Meyer, Elizabeth Pedersen, Keaton Weiler, Owen Alesch. Back row, Kaden Galles, Carson Loutsch, Mitchell Schnepf, Josh Wetter, Cody Simons, Michael Rupp, and Gunnar Grage.
(Photo Contributed)

REMSEN/MARCUS Students from the MMCRU industrial trades program competed at the SkillsUSA state leadership and skilled trades competition in various events.

"We did have numerous students medal in the top 3 in the state and qualify to compete at the national level in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer," said Matt Hansen, MMCRU 9-12 industrial technology instructor and Skills USA adviser.

The competition, which included around 500 students from across the state, was held April 7-8 at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny.

MMCRU students competed in welding fabrication, teamworks construction, technical drafting, applied math, public speaking and cabinetmaking.

Students advancing to the national competition June 20-25 in Atlanta, Georgia are:

Hayven Hollingshed, junior, Gold, cabinetmaking.

Keaton Weiler, junior, Gold, technical drafting.

Michael Rupp, senior, Gold, prepared speech.

Makenzie Meyer, senior; Gunner Grage, senior; and Torey Tentinger, junior; Gold, promotional bulletin board team.

Dawson Pick, sophomore; Cody Simons, sophomore; and Kaden Galles, sophomore; Gold, welding fabrication team.

Also competing were:

Carson Loutsch, junior, cabinetmaking.

Josh Wetter, junior, Silver, teamworks team.

Owen Alesh, junior, Silver, teamworks team.

Brenin Stodden, senior, Silver, teamworks team.

Mitchell Schnepf, sophomore, Silver, teamworks team.

Elizabeth Pederson, Silver, applied math.

Glad To Be Back to Normal

Hansen said it was just an outstanding feeling to be able to participate in these events again as COVID really wrecked things the last two years.

"These kids have never gotten to compete at the state competition so I came into this just hoping the kids would enjoy the opportunity and get excited about Skills USA, but to come and have almost all of our competitors medal in the top three in the state and qualify for nationals is just a huge honor for these kids and really validates the education they're receiving here at MMCRU," Hansen said.

Making Great Strides

Hansen indicated the results mean a lot for the MMCRU program.

"I believe these results just speak volumes to what we are teaching in our industrial trades program and really shows what we set out to do with our new facility and the program we offer, which is simply to provide a top tier industrial trades education to students in our district," Hansen said.

"Our students at the state event, heard over and over again from industry professionals about how the skills they were competing in are in such high demand as the labor pool for these trades continues to shrink as more people retire.

"I think this just shows that MMCRU is ahead of the curve in providing students with not only a great educational opportunity, but the best educational opportunity for those who have an interest in the skilled trades," Hansen said.

The school district opened a new industrial technology facility in 2018, and the program has been growing ever since.

"I think this facility has helped elevate the opportunities we can give to our students by emulating what they would see in the real world in the skilled trades. The reality is, you can read about all of these different trade skills in a textbook, but if students can't actually practice them, they will struggle to succeed as this industry as a whole is a 'learn by doing' field that takes time and practice, he said.

"With the space, tools, and technology that we offer to our students, we're able to prepare them with modern industry methods that are going to better prepare them for the workforce upon graduation, which at the end of the day is the simple goal of our program. Make students employable and make them contributing and successful members of our community," Hansen concluded.