RCCC student makes history with win in masonry competition at SkillsUSA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2018

Staff report

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Local students won some of the nation’s highest awards at the 2018 SkillsUSA Championships — and some even made history.

Ashton White, a West Rowan High School graduate and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College student, won the gold medal for postsecondary masonry, the first woman to do so. White was required to complete a six-hour project of brick and block.

White beat last year’s national champion to become the first woman in history to win a masonry competition at a national level.

“This young lady has worked extremely hard, and I am very proud of her,” said White’s former teacher, Rodney Harrington.

According to Harrington, White also had the highest score in both levels of competition.

Other Rowan County winners include:

• Brent Offenberger of Mount Ulla, a student at Rowan-Cabarrus, was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in plumbing.

• Heidi Swinson of Salisbury, also a student at Rowan-Cabarrus, won a gold medal in dental assisting.

More than 6,300 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education. The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skills competition in the world and covers 1.4 million square feet, equivalent to 20 football fields or 25 acres.

Students were invited to the competition to demonstrate technical, workplace and personal skills in 102 hands-on occupational and leadership divisions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.

Industry leaders from 600 businesses, corporations, trade associations and unions planned and evaluated the contestants against the standards for entry-level workers.

Skill Point Certificates were awarded in 72 occupational and leadership areas to students who met a threshold score in their competition, as defined by the industry. The Skill Point Certificate is a component of SkillsUSA’s assessment program for career and technical education.

This year’s competition was held in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 27-28.

The SkillsUSA Championships is held annually for students in middle school, high school or college and postsecondary programs as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

More than 360,000 students and advisers join SkillsUSA annually, organized into more than 18,000 sections and 53 state and territorial associations.