The construction team from Thomson High School took home top awards from the state SkillsUSA Competition last month.
Senior Brett Jenkins won first place in plumbing for the third consecutive year. The Teamworks team – Brandon Carlton, Evan Hunt, Justin Boutwell and Caleb Washington – placed second.
“I was proud of them. They handled themselves well,” said instructor Tony Arrington.
Jenkins will go on to compete in the national competition June 23 in Kansas City, Mo. It will be his third trip to nationals. Last year he placed fourth.
Jenkins has already begun practicing for the competition by reworking projects from previous competitions.
He said he was surprised at nationals this year because officials changed the way they announced winners and he wasn’t sure at first that he had won.
“They were going to call us all up there before they (announced the winners), but we didn’t really catch on to that,” he said.
He said he had more suspense, but was relieved and excited to find he had won first place.
Arrington said Jenkins looks at first as though he works slowly compared to his competitors, but he measures very carefully so he only needs to cut the pipes once.
“He cuts it once and puts it together like a big puzzle. And then all of a sudden there at the end it comes together,” he said.
Teamworks built an indoor bathroom for its project. The members were given a purchase order sheet to purchase materials before they could begin building a bathroom.
They were also given their specs the first day. When they returned to continue work the second day, they were presented an addendum for a change order, which meant they had to make unexpected changes to the work they’d already done. This was something they had never encountered during competition before.
The entire exercise simulated a real-world project, which several of the students will encounter as they enter construction fields after graduation.
Carlton plans to join the electrical union in June and hopefully land a job at Plant Vogtle. Jenkins plans to study mechanical engineering at Georgia Southern University.
For now, Jenkins hopes to end his high school career with a first place finish at nationals. “It would be nice, I think for him, the culmination of everything in three years, to come back with his gold medal would be an accomplishment,” Arrington said.