MERIDEN — More than 1,000 students from 20 technical schools across the state took part in the 2017 SkillsUSA competition at Wilcox Technical High School Friday.
Seventy-two events were held, including automotive and carpentry trade competitions, as well as leadership conferences.
SkillsUSA held regional competitions in February. Winners advanced to the state competition Friday.
“So we can make sure that the very best competitors are the ones that we send to nationals in June,” SkillsUSA volunteer Amanda Balch said.
Heidi Griffen, state director of SkillsUSA, said competition judges are volunteers.
“They’re looking for new talent,” she said. “They want to see the best of the best across the state...many of them are looking for students they can hire.”
Mike Martin was a judge for a cabinet construction competition. Nine students participated.
“It involves assembly of the face frame, assembly of the cabinet case, putting it all together, finishing, sanding,” he said. “A few extra little finishing touches that the student can do if they feel capable.”
The cabinets were judged on organization, safety, accuracy and neatness. Martin said it’s encouraging to see students working tenaciously before they enter their field.
Kyle Peet, of Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington, was participating in a hairdressing competition.
“It’s always been an idea in my head. I figured since it’s my senior year, I might as well give it my all and try to compete,” Peet said.
Several students were practicing updos, a hairstyle. “That’s my strongest suit,” Peet said.