Courtney Trenn, 16, is the first female to win a gold medal in carpentry for SkillsUSA in the state of Rhode Island. As is customary with success, Courtney admits it took a lot of practice and determination. A junior at the Warwick Area Career & Tech Center, this was her second year competing against 17 other talented students.
In 3 hours, they were challenged to build a small-scale model home including a floor system, walls and rafters. Each student worked individually without any outside assistance from teachers and had to map out the calculations on their own. Courtney was the only competitor to finish – and with a half hour to spare. Surprisingly, carpentry wasn’t always a passion of hers. Courtney originally intended to focus her talents on auto-mechanics, but close friends convinced her otherwise.
It wasn’t an immediate fit and Courtney joked, “I couldn’t even swing a hammer.” She thanks the “amazing teachers,” [Michael Haynes and Brian Vadeboncoeur] of the center for providing her with the knowledge and support necessary to succeed in the program. Through the extensive curriculum, Courtney and other students have had the opportunity to visit job sites and gain valuable hands-on experience by helping to build homes for the community. In the future, she hopes to move south and start her own company.
If her gold medal is anything to go by, Courtney has a very bright future.
“Standing at the top step of the state competition was my first step to standing at the top step of nationals,” though making it to Nationals is it’s own battle. The trip is $1,215, not including other expenses like food. Courtney and many others are dependent on sponsorships to get them there.
Thankfully, they have a faculty to support them. The staff and teachers are focused on raising money and using every effort to work with the families and their students to ensure that they have what they need.
William McCaffrey, center director, and Jill Shurtleff, Co-Advisor with Liz Charette of Cisco (a program that teaches students critical IT and networking skills), are dedicated to pushing students to find sponsorship opportunities. On June 2nd, the faculty will host their major fundraiser – a golf tournament at the Cranston Country Club. About 120 men and women will be participating at $125 per golfer, and the school hopes to raise at least $15,000.
It’s all about the sponsors, said Shurtleff.
The National SkillsUSA Competition is set in Louisville Kentucky from June 24th to June 30th. In order to send all 10 of their students to Nationals, however, the school needs to raise close to $25,000.
Others awarded medals at the SkillsUSA Competition from Warwick Tech Center are: Karlin Levesque for Automotive Service Technology; Colby Vinacco for Cabinetmaking; Tabitha Polce, Emily Spremuli, and Alexa Shearer for Career Pathways Showcase; Kenedie Desjean for Commercial Baking; Drew St. Denis for Cosmetology; Kyle Langais for Electrical Construction Wiring; Kolby Toole for Electronics Technology; Micah Burgin for Industrial Motor Controls; Jacey Foshey for Job Skills Demo Open; Joseph DeRensis, Braelyn Caddick, and Dylan Ford for Marine Technology; Clarissa Briggs won for Pin Design; Jordan Beaumier, Jayce Correira, Daniel Dwyer, and Andrew Fredericks for Teamworks; and Austin Pickup, Jackson Wayss, and Joseph Andrade for Technical Drifting.