Nicholas Noble, foreground, competes in the Precision Machining contest.Nicholas Noble, foreground, competes in the Precision Machining contest.

      A lot of things were different this school year but one thing that didn’t change was the drive exhibited by Pickaway-Ross’ SkillsUSA members.

     The largest of the career center’s career and technical student organizations, SkillsUSA provides students with an opportunity to take part in leadership and skills-building activities, culminating in occupational-based competitions.

     This year, nearly 40 students participated.

     “PRCTC, overall, was well represented by some amazing competitors and delegates,” said Jennifer Widdig, one of the school’s SKillsUSA advisors. “I loved seeing the excitement in the students and how proud they were to show off their skills and trades.”

     Many competitions took place virtually, as will the national competition this summer. 

     Advancing to nationals with a first-place win at state last week are Carolyn Hubbard, Shianna Roll and Jake Whited (Community Service); Bryce Bartlett (CNC Milling); and Mason Willis (Collision Repair Technology).

     Also taking medals at the state level were Nicolas Noble (second, Precision Machining) and the team of Abbigail Barnhart, Brianna Hill and Haley Parker (third, Crime Scene Investigation). 

     “We are so lucky that our students got the opportunity to compete in SkillsUSA this year,” Jennifer said. “Our students did a fantastic job adapting and overcoming the difficulties of the COVID-19 restrictions. 

     A partnership with John Treitmaier, owner of Southeastern Machining (SEM) in Lancaster, was beneficial. An advocate of career-technical education, John has been hiring students from Pickaway-Ross’ Machining & Manufacturing program while they are still in school, providing them with on-the-job training. 

     Alumni John Thomas, who completed Brent Ebert’s Machining program in 2016, works at SEM and returned to Pickaway-Ross to supervise senior Nick Noble in the Precision Machining competition. Nick placed second.

     The following week, Bryce Bartlett and Joel Brown — both on job placement at SEM — competed in, respectively, CNC Milling and CNC Turning, using the machines at SEM.

     John Treitmeier said he has worked with Brent for several years and when asked if the students — his own employees — could use his machines for the contest, he was all for it.

     “I've been always taught to pay it forward,” he said.     

List of SkillsUSA member accomplishments