Senior one of four SLHS students who earn awards at state vocational competition
Being asked to build an oak cabinet in just over four hours would be an assignment that might make many high school students sweat with worry.
One Storm Lake High School senior's ability to complete that very assignment has landed him a trip to a national competition in Kansas City this June, as he was able to capture a championship in cabinetmaking event at a state competition last week.
A.J. Spielman was named the state champion in the Cabinet Building category at the 2003 SkillsUSA - VICA (Vocational Industrial Club of America) state contest, held last Thursday at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg. He and 25 other Tornado students in the local VICA club competed in the contest with hundreds of Iowa high school and college students in more than 45 categories testing their knowledge in a variety of technical skills.
The state championship is the first for Spielman, who did not place in the same event at last year's competition. A student in the Woods class at SLHS, Spielman said he had to take a 75-minute test before being given the assignment to build a cabinet in just over four hours.
"They give you a piece of plywood and a couple solid pieces of oak, but that's it," Spielman said. "They do give you enough measurements beforehand so you can do it, but you have to figure out the rest."
After completing the project, judges then evaluate the effort based on several criteria, including whether the student interpreted the plans correctly and if he or she used proper safety precautions while operating the machines.
Students in other categories operate under similar guidelines. Ed Birkey, the advisor of the SLHS VICA club for the past two years, said pupils in the Computer Aided Drafting Architectural competition had to design a concession stand for a softball complex at the state event, while those entering the mechanical drafting contest were asked to compose six different intricate drawings of a hydraulic part.
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