WAUSAU (WAOW) — Wisconsin’s 46th annual State SkillUSA: Leadership and Skills Conference kicks off today and both Wausau East and West are sending multiple students.
The two schools will compete separately in a variety of competitions ranging from screen printing to sheet metal work.
Wausau East is competing in 10 different events at the conference, with the majority of participation coming in the broadcast news production category, design, and screen printing technology.
The hands-on skills the students learn help them realize how they can create things and possibly find a hidden passion — something Dalton Brandenburg learned while working in screen printing.
“When I got it out on a shirt. I was like, ‘Whoa! I guess I can do this.’ And I kept moving up. Then I did two colors, then I worked to three and now I’m on four. And then I’m in this competition for screen printing. It’s crazy,” said Dalton Brandenburg of Wausau East High School.
Wausau West will compete in six different events, such as the team engineering challenge and sheet metal work.
The place the students call their classroom is a loud and interactive shop. Giving the students an experience that allows them to ditch the books for real-world skill building.
This allows the students an opportunity to learn about what other jobs are out there for the taking.
“Classes in here really open doors for things to do in the future. In here it’s like you can pick a trade and learn more about it in the classes, and go to college and grow in that trade more,” said Cade Amsrud of Wausau West High School.
And students from both schools love the interactive nature of SkillsUSA class time.
“I feel like I learn a lot better by doing stuff with my hands on rather than just, like, having someone present it in front of class,” said Kyler Anklim of Wausau West High School.
“[Its] Way more fun than math class. I mean, we get to travel; we went to the tech, and then we went to Stout, and then were going to Madison,” said Brandenburg.
And both of rival schools are competing in welding and automotive service technology, which should make things interesting.