SkillsUSA Chapter continues Community Service

The SkillsUSA Chapter with kids from all over Platte County have done several service projects within the county such as doing the cutting of the metal sign on the Guernsey cemetery remodel, (picture 1), building and putting out Christmas decorations in freezing temperatures (picture 2) and learning how to draw on the CAD machine (picture 3).

GUERNSEY – Throughout Platte County, you will see groups of students remodeling buildings and brandishing tools and projects for their communities.

This is a part of the ever-growing SkillsUSA chapter, based at Guernsey High School. The kids have welded stands for Christmas wreaths at the local cemetery to building pig houses for the animal sanctuary, “Kindness Ranch” – located north of Hartville. There is no job too big or small for them to tackle.

The Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA chapter is nearing the successful completion of another school year, and with it comes a long list of service to the community.  Chapter members have been busy working both inside and outside of school to help their community while also improving their own work ethic and job skills.

“The SkillsUSA members in the Skilled Trades Class got started on renovating the old slew bridge in the fall,” said SkillsUSA adviser Troy Reichert. “But a long and blustery winter has put that project on hold for the past several months.  During the winter, those same students have been logging hours inside the VFW sanding and refinishing the upstairs floor, while other chapter members started to help serve food, bus tables and wash dishes at the monthly VFW breakfasts for the community.”

Along with their annual offering to put up and take down Christmas lights for people in the community, the SkillsUSA chapter is also busy building new flower pots for the town to enjoy along the highway and side streets.

Perhaps the most evident project they did this year was the new entry into the Prairie Rest cemetery.  When Reichert was approached by town councilman Kellie Augustyn last fall about potentially having students weld the new entry, it was an immediate yes from the students.  

The kids in his welding classes drew out the plans for the new archway, cut and welded metal, and then painted the final product before helping load it for transport to the cemetery.  A second part of the cemetery project included making wreath stands to honor deceased Veterans in the cemetery over Christmas.  The students welded nearly 200 wreath stands that were then driven into the ground by VFW Auxiliary members and SkillsUSA members.  

Instead of the wreaths laying on the ground by the gravestones and getting covered with snow like past winters, they hung proudly on the new stands until the students, VFW and Auxiliary members were able to remove the stands once the ground thawed a few weeks ago.

“You may have also noticed decorative metal Christmas signs in the flower pots lining the highway over the holiday,” Reichert said. ”And, you guessed it, those were made and installed by the Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA chapter as well. With only two months left in the school year, the Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA chapter is focusing on learning and competing at the Wyoming Leadership and Skills Conference, where they hope to win their third straight 1A/2A state title.  23 students will be competing April 24-26 in 13 different competitions on the Casper College campus.”

The national SkillsUSA organization empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. Their mission is to improve the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of SkillsUSA Framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Their vision is to produce the most highly skilled workforce in the world, providing every member the opportunity for career success.

SkillsUSA serves more than 331,000 students and instructors annually across the nation. This includes 19,019 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 393,000. SkillsUSA has served nearly 14 million annual members cumulatively since 1965 and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.