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Teen Woodworkers Battle it Out for International Title

comments (3) August 1st, 2011 in blogs

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
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The winning nightstand on display following the competition.
Kaydee Walters hard at work, cutting dovetails for her nightstands drawer.
Kaydee Walters nighstand plan is covered with parts, including an assembled face frame - midway through the competition.
Daniel Berrios, hard at work on the nightstand, mid-competition.
L-R: Scott Phillips, host of WGBU TVs The American Woodshop, announces the winner as Kaydee Walters and Daniel Berrios look on.
The winning nightstand on display following the competition. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The winning nightstand on display following the competition.

During AWFS this year, two high school woodworkers battled for the title of SkillsUSA champion. At stake was a trip to Leipzig, Germany, to compete in the world skills championship.

Both competitors—Daniel Berrios, of Bethlehem Vo-Tech School in Bethlehem, PA, and Kaydee Walters, of Tooele High School in Tooele, UT—are part of the SkillsUSA program, whose mission is to help students in technical schools develop leadership skills and to learn about teamwork in an attempt to help them be successful in their post-high school jobs.

This woodworking competition had Daniel, the 2010 SkillsUSA gold medalist, and Kaydee, the 2011 champ, going head-to-head building the same nightstand. The piece had to be finished by the end of the week, with critical timelines met. Each step was judged in two basic categories: subjective and objective. Objective criteria included accuracy of dimensions and conformity to the overall plan. Subjective criteria were based on three judges' opinions of items such as joinery and surface qualities.

Both kids worked hard, kicking up sawdust and sweat while under the watchful eyes of passersby. By Saturday morning, judges had made their selection, and the winner was Daniel Berrios.

For more information about the program, visit

posted in: blogs, AWFS, skillsusa, skills usa, student challenge, woodworking contest

Comments (3)

rankebr rankebr writes: I know in Utah, the Colleges pay their students for the National trip to Kansas. I don't know if the High Schools pay for the trip or not. Also the Colleges give tuition waivers to the winners of State competition.
Posted: 6:08 pm on April 9th

fjmeoduxo fjmeoduxo writes: As his teacher and perhaps a mentor, you would guide him further, perhaps as you did leading up to his winning of the "Provincial Skills" competition, in how to acquire, or solicit sponsorship for the international event if he can't afford it himself.

Sponsorship may include his parents, even you, your school, his community and perhaps, local businesses, associations and guilds. Instead of claiming "what a farce", do something about it instead of blaming the circumstance you/he are in. Take ownership of the perceived problem and fix it! The student may develop the same attitude you have and eventually become a quitter or worse yet, somebody who stops what there doing in the face of adversity. I know what you're thinking right about now. Don't even go there! Now, with your new found inspiration, pep in your step and sparkle in your eye, go forth and do great things! And by the way, teach others to do the same.
Posted: 1:00 pm on November 9th

riden riden writes: I have to ask. I am Canadian, one of my students won the provincial Skills competition (mechanics), and earned the right to compete nationally and perhaps after that internationally.

He didn't go because none of his trip was covered, it would have cost this kid at least likely $2000 to compete. I couldn't believe it, he was still a teen, where could he get that money. What a farce.

Is the US version the same?
Posted: 7:04 pm on August 2nd

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