Building Trades Students Win Construction Medals

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Armed with a set of plans for a work-bench, seven Payson High School students walked away with first-, second- and, fourth-place honors at the sixth annual Arizona Construction Skills Championships.

"They gave us a set of plans and four hours. We finished in 45 minutes," Trevor Haught said.

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Trevor Haught, Fred Isabell and Jake Stabb mount antlers on a base.

Haught, Fred Isabell and Mitch Perna were on the second-place team. They won $50 each at the Feb. 15 competition at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix.

First-place winners were Zach Brooks and Gage Conway.

Lucas Barr, and Taylor Byers were fourth-place medalists.

The competition happened on what turned out to be a snow day, so not all the eligible teens came to school to get on the bus for the drive to the Valley.

"We invite schools and participants from all around the state to come and participate in six different events," Teacher Doug Bogart said on a 99-second Construction Skills Showcase video on YouTube at http://video.aol.com/video-detail/phoenix-metro-tech-high-school-construction-skills-challenge/31105 93806.

Those six events were carpentry, plumbing, wiring, masonry, construction technology, prepared speech and job interviewing.

The championships are sponsored to test the construction and leadership skills of students; to showcase future construction workers of Arizona; to invite construction companies to build relationships among students statewide; and to have fun.

"The hard work of my students definitely paid off. They were in competition with more than 300 students," Richard Alvarez said.

The teens are part of the woodshop and construction trades class Alvarez teaches at PHS.

Most students have been in the class for two or three years.

They obtain dual college and high school credit through an Arizona schools joint technological education district, Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT).

T. J. Harris, a past winner at the championships, graduated PHS in 2007 then went to work as a cement finisher for a local contractor, Alvarez said.

Haught, a junior, has been in the woodshop and construction class since he was a freshman. His personal projects include a hat rack, tables and a dog box to keep his hunting dogs safe in the bed of his truck.

"It took a one-ton flatbed to haul the dog box out of here," Alvarez said.

Students choose their own projects, then, build those projects from plans they design and draw.

Perna is in the final stages of building a sturdy, comfortable rocking chair.

Isabell is also a junior in his third year of class with Alvarez. He plans to go into the construction trade. His personal projects include tables, a hat rack and a rifle rack.

In addition to their personal projects, the young men and women of the class are busy with community projects under Alvarez's watchful eye.

They have made cedar chests for various clubs to raffle.

They rebuilt the jailhouse for saloon girls of the Rodeo Committee.

The promotional wagon for the 125th Anniversary of Payson was one of their projects.

They recently finished laying a concrete slab for Habitat for Humanity's townhome project. This past school year, they worked on Habitat's house on Wade, adding siding, walls, a roof and sidewalks.

"Working on a Habitat house gives the kids an opportunity to pick the part of a project they enjoy doing," Alvarez said.

Each year they build shelving, display cases and small animal pens needed at the Northern Gila County Fair.

They made concrete benches for the campus and doors under the stage at Rim Country Middle School. Students are in the process of making a gun cabinet for the Mogollon Sporting Association to raffle.

"Mr. Alvarez always points us in the right direction. He is there to tell us what we are doing wrong and what we are doing right," Isabell said.

It is knowledge the students will need as they head toward final exams that focus on their ability to render plans, and their knowledge of shop safety.

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