Tri-County Technical Center Gears Up For Competition

Published: Jan. 11, 2018 at 5:32 PM EST
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The Tri-County Technical School in Dexter closed its doors for a short time two years ago after fire damaged the roof.

It took some time to get back on their feet, but now students are preparing for their first real competition since the fire.

Alyssa Thurlow reports.

"I use the analogy of the little train that could, explained Director of the Tri-County Technical Center, Patrick O'Neill. "We're the little tech center that can."

That's the attitude students in the CTE programs at the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter have, even after devastation at their school just two years ago.

"I received word from Superintendent Jordan on the morning of January 9, 2016 that my school was on fire," explained O'Neill.

The fire damaged 60 percent of the building and caused even more damage to thousands of dollars of equipment.

Director of the school, Patrick O'Neill, says he's surprised at how quickly they were able to get back on their feet.

"I was proud of my staff and really proud of the kids to deal with what they dealt with," said O'Neill.

Fast forward two years and another group of students is getting ready to show off their skills in their first real competition since the fire.

"We were a little slow getting back up on our feet until this year and we're hopeful to have a large contingent go onto the states and maybe onto the nationals," explained O'Neill.

The Skills USA competition lets students continue to learn skills in order to be productive in their trades.

They're judged on everything from automotive tasks to graphic design to culinary arts.

"It's an opportunity for parents and the community to come in and look at the school since the fire and watch some of these kids do some amazing things," said O'Neill.

If they're successful, students will make their way to Kentucky in the spring for nationals.

It's a competition some students say really pushes them in their abilities.

"There's so many of us competing this year that I'm going to have to work harder," explained Senior, MacKenzie Redimarker.

Even if the students don't reach recognition on a national level this year, staff say they hope to bring attention to what they do.

"We're hoping the kids have a good time and we're hoping the community and parents that come really are impressed with the kind of training that we do here," said O'Neill.