A three-person team of Winona Career and Technical Center students won first place and a $1,000 prize in the Building Futures Construction Competition, held April 10, 2019, during the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation SkillsUSA State Competition held at the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson.
Sarah Winters, Jacob Brannon, and Rhett Oliver, named Team Triple Threat by teacher Greg Wenger, won first place for constructing a fire pit crafted after a semi-truck.
According to Wenger, Mississippi’s career and technical programs were invited to participate in the first Building Futures Construction Competition, and students in grades nine through 12 were given six months to construct a project of their choice using wood or metal.
“[My students] built an actual 18-wheeler and made it into a fire pit,” Wenger said. “I named them Team Triple Threat, and I got t-shirts made for the competition.”
Wenger said part of the competition was a 250-300 word essay from the students about the project in advance of the competition.
“It took them six months,” Wenger said. “They started building the truck piece by piece. They did 100 percent of it – blueprints, cutting, welding, forming. I was here for advice, but that was it. They did it all.”
Wenger said program supporter Gwain Jefcoat ordered vinyl decals for the truck and donated them to the team to help “spiff” up the truck.
Team Triple Threat’s hard work paid off with a first place win and a check for $1,000 that will go toward the Winona Career and Technical Center’s programs.
In addition to the $1,000 check, someone purchased the fire pit for $800, more money that will go toward the award-winning program.
Winter, Brannon, and Oliver weren’t the only Winona Career and Technical Center students to win big at the SkillsUSA State Competition this year. Sam Matrisciano took home a state championship win in the Welding and Sculpting competition. He will attend the national competition in Kentucky at the end of June.