Port Angeles High School students head to national competition
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Port Angeles High School's Donna Moreau, center, is shown with students Puumba Orr, Sarah Starrett, Justin Moon, Madison Drew, Kelsey Balfour and Sierra Fairchild, from left.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

State adviser of the year
ADVISER DONNA MOREAU, who teaches health sciences and medical careers at Port Angeles High School and the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center, has been selected the Washington State Adviser of the Year.

Moreau, who was named prior to the SkillsUSA Washington State Leadership and Skills Conference in Renton last week, saw her students sweep the state medals in the medical terminology competition, said Mike Frick, metal shop instructor and SkillsUSA adviser.

Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Three Port Angeles High School students are bound for national competition after the school's vocational skills team collected nine medals — gold, silver and bronze — at the state vocational skills contest.

Named best in the state in their fields at the Skills-USA Washington State Leadership and Skills Conference in Renton last week were senior Bryan O'Neil, 18, in precision machining; senior Madison Drew, 17, in medical terminology; and junior Brandon Pappas, 17, in architectural drafting.

All three won gold medals. Also awarded to members of the Port Angeles team were two silver medals and four bronzes.

“This is the best we have done as a school in over a decade,” said Tim Branham, woods technology instructor and SkillsUSA adviser.

“Also, we have a student, Madison Drew, who won two medals,” Branham said.

In addition to Madison's medical terminology gold medal, she also earned a bronze medal in the category of job demonstration.

O'Neil and Brandon, along with sophomore Sarah Starrett, 16 — who won the silver medal in medical terminology — will go to the SkillsUSA national competition June 24-28 in Kansas City, Mo.

Madison, who competed at the national event in 2012 and took 11th place, said that although she won the gold medal in medical terminology, she will step aside so silver medal winner Sarah can take her place.

Sarah, who plans to become a psychologist, said the school's sweep of the medical technology category, with Sierra Fairchild taking the bronze, was unexpected.

“It was really exciting,” she said.

Sarah added that the subject is challenging.

“It's a lot of studying, a lot of repetition,” she said.

Other award winners included Evan Walrath, silver, in action skills — which includes a short demonstration of an occupational skill using examples, experiments, displays or practical operations — Dylan Wallner, bronze, in precision machining; and Lane Levine, bronze, in cabinetmaking.

The precision machining contest is more than just creating the most accurate item on a lathe, O'Neil said.

Competitors create a predetermined item on both mill and lathe, are judged on layout, take an exam on theory and more.

O'Neil, who began machining when he was 12, said the state award and entry to the national contest could help him professionally.

“I think it shows you're knowledgeable enough for the basic skills needed for the job,” he said.

Mike Frick, PAHS metal shop instructor and SkillsUSA adviser, agreed that the contest is helpful for students' future careers and education.

“It shows that an individual can work under pressure. Going to state is a huge pressure cooker, and nationals increases it 50-fold,” Frick said.

The contest also gives students encouragement to continue their vocational education, rather than going straight to work after high school, he said.

Brandon, who has been in drafting for three years, promised he would win the national contest in architectural drafting.

“I guarantee I will take it home — for my grandfather,” he said.

The three competitors will need to raise at least $1,500 each to travel to Missouri for the contest to cover airfare, hotel and entry fees.

No specific fundraising efforts have begun.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 29. 2013 9:33AM
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