PLTW Students Are Engineering Champions in SkillsUSA

July 5, 2013 - A team of PLTW students from Technical High School in St. Cloud, Minn. took first place in the Engineering Technology/Design competition at the annual SkillsUSA Championships held June 24-28 in Kansas City.

Austin Cash, Hunter Black and Brady Roden qualified for the national championship by winning the state title in Bloomington, Minn. in March. For the Engineering Technology/Design competition, a team of three students demonstrates their ability to design an innovative engineering project and present those ideas along with a display and live model. During the presentation, students were judged on their performance as a professional team, presentation of their project to a panel of judges from the engineering field, their storyboard presentation model, and the overall effect of the presentation.

Technical High School's team invented the Drill and Pop. This is a device that clears the slug from a hole saw. Hole saws are used by many trades, including electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. The team identified the problem last summer when Austin was helping his dad on a construction site and he had to use a screwdriver to remove the slugs. He thought, “there must be a better way,” and after seven months of problem solving, the team of juniors perfected the Drill and Pop. All three students have plans to pursue careers in mechanical engineering after graduation.

Bill Garceau, who teaches PLTW courses at Technical High School, was the team's advisor.

More than 5,900 students participated in hands-on competitions in 98 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.

SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.

For Technical High School, last year’s team also took home the national title in the Engineering Technology/Design competition. This year 29 state champion teams competed in this category, making it the largest ever.