Webster students shine at Skills USA

Webster student Rylie Snorek shows a cool project. 

Almost a dozen Webster High School students competed in the recent – and ongoing – Skills USA events, and those Tigers were highlighted by the Webster Board of Education at their regular meeting on Monday, April 25.

A total of eleven Webster students went to the latest Skills USA competition in Madison, in disciplines and areas ranging from culinary skills to welding fabrication, automated manufacturing, power equipment usage and more. In total, Webster students scored an impressive nine medals and two trophies, with several of the students in attendance at the board meeting. 

Advisor Ron Dorn assisted with the presentation, and noted the various skills, challenges and difficulties involved with the students competing, with several of the competitions involving dozens of school districts’ students going head-to-head. 

One of the Tiger competitors, Sophia Rockford, took a second place in culinary skills, having to create a three-course meal with the ingredients specified, in a strict time limit, which she was not only able to complete with aplomb, but earned her a chance to move on to the next level of Skills USA.

“I’m really looking forward to Nationals in Atlanta to compete again!” Rockford said, as she described some of the challenges of the contests, as well as areas she was maybe not as prepared as he wished. While she earned a second place, it was enough to get her a ticket to Atlanta, as the first-place finisher is unable to attend, so Rockford will instead. 

Another student, Rylie Snorek, described his project in welding fabrication, where students were given ten hortus to create a unique stool, which included a custom, engrave seat and more, although Snorek said they initially placed several parts wrong, it ended up being a trophy-worthy project, in the end. 

“It was a highly contested (skills event), with 18 different school competing,” stated advisor Ron Dorn, who was notably proud of the Tiger performances. “We jumped from three to nine medals this year!”

Dorn is one of the district technology education teachers, as well as a SkillsUSA advisors, along with Wendy Holdt, who spoke at the board meeting Monday night.

The students that medaled at the state conference were James Fornengo, Rylie Snorek, and Caleb Smith in Welding Fabrication, who took a third Place; Elijiah Ward, Xander Hill, Bradon Nutter competed in the Automated Manufacturing competition and also took a third place. Mason Getts placed second in the Power Equipment discipline; Sophia Rockford and Grace Wondra placed second and third, respectively, in Culinary Arts. Ellianna Smith, and Ethan Ashworth also attended the state conference in Faclilithon and Welding. Additionally, Sophia Rockford participated in Job Demonstration and placed fourth.

According to the organization, Skills USA took a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, but they are back and going strong, as the 49th annual SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Leadership and Skills Conference took place in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center on April 6. Founded in 1973, SkillsUSA Wisconsin has more than 2,500 members in over 180 chapters. It is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has the skilled work force needed to stay competitive. The diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trades, technical, and skilled service occupations, the majority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related.