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Brains, brawn and power tools, students gather and show off their skills at WDT

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 4:25 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Over the last two days, Western Dakota Tech held the 2022 SkillsUSA South Dakota Leadership and Skills Conference, attracting roughly 300 participants, instructors and supporters from around the state.

Students showed off what their schools’ programs have to offer in areas like construction, transportation, hospitality and more by demonstrating their skills in both hands on and written forms while judges assessed their performance.

Those who demonstrated the best qualities in their trade, like leadership and craftsmanship, were recognized and awarded. People like Cade Nofziger, who participated in the Automotive and Service Repair Competition, “won first place. Kind of pulled out of nowhere. But, no. It took a lot of practice. Definitely a group effort. We were all aware of it ahead of time and put some extra hours in. Definitely some help from the instructors to get us prepped and ready to come out here and do our best.”

Last years event was held online, and participants say it’s nice to be back to demonstrate their potential in person.

Before coming out to the event, students take an online test depending on their field and that assessment contributes to how well they score, however “you don’t know how you do,” says Nofziger, “they don’t tell you. After that is completed, you’re welcome to join the event. At the event, they have you stationed in a classroom until you’re called out into the shop where you go through four different stations. Go through diagnostic procedures, repairs and just do your best with what knowledge you have to get the right answers. Judges grade it, and give us an award at the end if we win.”

He calls the award ceremony a big cliff hanger, where they go through each competition individually and pull the winners out.

He says when he heard his name called he felt it proved, that for his team, hard work pays off.

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