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Jan 30
Technical Skills Contest sees record number of participants

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Sean Anderson, of Indianola, wires up a single pull switch and lights as part of a technical skills contest at North Platte Community College on Monday. Anderson was entered in the electrical technology category.

A record number of high school students descended on North Platte Community College on Monday for the college's 10th annual Technical Skills Contest. 

The event lured in 151 students representing 13 area high schools – a significant increase from the 109 students from 10 area high schools that competed last year. Lenny Hassel, the college's career pathways coordinator, was thrilled with the turnout. 

"Technical skills are so important," said Hassel. "People who can do those types of jobs are needed right here in our backyard."

The high school students went head-to-head in the areas of team building construction, carpentry, construction drafting, welding, competitive welding, auto mechanics, electrical technology and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R). 

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Logan May, of Brady, identifies pieces of a brake caliper during a technical skills contest at North Platte Community College on Monday. May was entered in the auto mechanics category.

"We use these contests to build relationships with the high school kids and to encourage them to go into a trade," said Mike Janecek, NPCC automotive instructor. "This competition is good preparation for what they would be expected to do on the job." 

The contestants were assisted and judged by NPCC students. 

"Putting our students in the instructor role for a day gives them a different outlook on their studies," said Janecek. "You don't truly know a craft until you try to teach it." 

Ivan Dobesh, who is studying HVAC/R at the college, agreed with that statement. It was just last year that he was competing. 

"I definitely believe that when you teach someone what you've been learning, it sticks with you better," said Dobesh. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity." 

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Devin Nichols, of Broken Bow, conducts a vehicle inspection Monday as part of a technical skills contest at North Platte Community College. Nichols was entered in the auto mechanics category.

Tony Kapustka, an industrial technology teacher at Stapleton Public Schools, took five seniors and a sophomore to the contest. They competed in building construction and welding. 

"We come here every year," said Kapustka. "The students really enjoy it. They like to take the skills they've learned in the classroom and see how they stack up in a competition."

It was the first time Sean Anderson, of Indianola, had competed. He entered the electrical technology category. 

"It's been fun," said Anderson. "My uncle does electrical work, so that's how I'm familiar with it. I like doing projects that are hands-on." 

The high schools attending were: Anselmo-Merna, Arthur, Brady, Broken Bow, Maxwell, Maywood, McPherson County, North Platte, Ogallala, Perkins County, Southwest, Stapleton and Wallace. 

Results of the competition were as follows: 

Auto mechanics:

First place – Justin Koop, Wallace High School

Second place - Jack Griffiths, Brady High School

Third place – Patience Roebuck, North Platte High School 

Building Construction (Team):

First place – Dayne Littell, Devon Littell, JC Van Drimmelen and Paul White, Maywood High School

Second place – Gage Christensen, Josh Powers, Georgie Lage, Kyla Wykert, Arthur County High School

Third place - Joel Myers, Ethan Bazyn, Trayvin Russell, Bladen Nichols, Broken Bow High School 

Carpentry:

First place – Kayson Fassler, Maxwell High School

Second place – Tyson Patrick, Perkins County High School

Third place – Brandon Bardell, Maxwell High School 

Construction Drafting:

First place – Matt Aerni, Perkins County High School

Second place – Colton Houser, Ogallala High School

Third place – Karnee Hatch, Brady High School 

Electrical technology:

First place – Sean Anderson, Southwest High School

Second place – Harley Remington, Southwest High School

Third place – Stephen Harrison, Southwest High School 

HVAC/R:

First place – Logan Rosentrater, Wallace High School

Second place – Tyler Daniels, Wallace High School

Third place - Kyon Neal, McPherson County High School 

Welding (novice):

First place – Lane West, Anselmo-Merna High School

Second place – Dawson Duryea, Anselmo-Merna High School

Third place – Trevan Rut, Arthur County High School 

Competitive Welding:

First place – Johnny Seery, North Platte High School

Second place – Kyon Neal, McPherson County High School

Third place – Jayden Miles, North Platte High School 

Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​