Port Angeles students to pit skills in woodwork, machinery

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — More than two dozen Port Angeles High School students will roll up their sleeves early Saturday morning and put their woodworking, machining and drafting skills to the test in hopes of reaching competition at the state and nationwide level.

The contests, open for the public to watch from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the high school drafting lab and machine and wood shops, will feature students competing with skills and knowledge gleaned from technical and skilled-trade classes, said Tim Branham, the high school’s wood technology instructor.

The school is located at 304 E. Park Ave.

The competitions are organized by the high school’s chapter of Skills­USA, a national organization that helps students prepare for careers in the skilled and technical trades, Branham said.

The school’s chapter is 60 students strong this year, Branham added, and has sent numerous students to state and national competitions over the years.

Only students from Port Angeles High and a few from Kitsap County are signed up to compete this weekend, Branham said.

Details of contests

Branham, a roughly 20-year veteran of the Port Angeles High chapter, said 12 of his advanced cabinet-making students will be competing Saturday and will be given all day to build a wooden jewelry box with raw materials provided the day of the competition.

High school machining instructor Mike Frick said 15 of his students will compete in turn in each of five separate stations that will test their skills in precision lathing, milling, work-bench fabrication, inspection and finally a written test of their knowledge.

Each student will have an hour to complete a station, turn in their product and move on to the next task, Frick explained.

“They’ll get the materials, a set of drawings and make the part,” Frick said.

Branham said students also will compete in both technical and architectural drafting, which is the practice of drawing plans for buildings or machinery.

Although students can be enrolled in more than one technical skills class, they can compete in only one type of skills contest Saturday, Branham said.

Branham said he encourages his students to join the SkillsUSA chapter to participate in these types of competitions because it teaches them to think on their feet outside of a classroom setting.

“It pulls them out of their comfort zone and extends their learning,” Branham said.

Frick said he requires his machining students to compete because it tests their skills under time constraints they would experience in the real job market.

“It shows them what they do know and what they don’t, and what they need to improve on,” Frick said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 31. 2013 5:27PM
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