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MILLERSBURG -- Applying the skills he learned in the classroom of Dave McMillen's building and trades program at West Holmes earned senior Sam Baird a second-place finish at the Skills USA competition in mid-April in Columbus.
"Skills USA has many different competitions, and we like to compete in the carpentry division," McMillen said. "There were about 20 kids competing in the state competition. We're real proud of Sam."
Baird qualified for the state tournament with a third-place finish at the regional competition where he won several prizes, including a drill, batteries, drill bits, hammers, a tape measure and a tool box.
Between the regional and state tournament, McMillen points out that Baird didn't do anything differently to prepare for state competition. He just came back to class and worked on building a house.
Which was beneficial, because that was pretty much his project for the state competition. Baird said he applied all the skills he's learned in the building and trades class over the last two years.
"I had to build a three-sided building with a roof," Baird said. "We had to put in a platform, a set of stairs and hang some drywall. I thought it was interesting all the different projects we could do in carpentry.
"We had three to four hours to build it, and then we had to clean up while they judged everything," he continued. "The next day we went into a big room with a lot of people there. It reminded me of the FFA national convention. That's where they told us how we did."
Second place out of all the building and trades programs in Ohio is pretty impressive, McMillen added.
"Sam is one of those kids, who, once he got into that program, really took off," West Holmes High School Principal Aaron Kaufman said. "He has a strong interest in it and is excelling in the program. He goes above and beyond what he's asked to do.
"I'm really excited to see him do so well at the Skills USA competition," Kaufman added. "It doesn't surprise me because he's really into this."
Baird will be attending The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) for construction management in the fall.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com.