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BELTON HIGH SCHOOL WINS SECOND SKILLSUSA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

For the second year in a row, Belton High School (BHS) students are the SkillsUSA TeamWorks National Champions. The team of construction trades students Bailey Eickenloff, William Glaser, Antonio Hernandez and Lyhue Penny took first place in the TeamWorks event at the 2018 SkillsUSA National Student Leadership Conference held this week in Louisville, KY.

In the TeamWorks competition, teams of four students receive blueprints for a construction project that that requires carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry skills. After making a presentation on how they will approach the project, the teams have three days to complete the structure. 

This year’s build was an 8x8 structure with vinyl siding, detailed decorative brick work, full kitchen with stove, dishwasher, sink with disposal, microwave ventahood, and a hip roof. The only schools that completely finished the project were Belton (representing Texas), Georgia and South Carolina.

“Our team just blew everyone away,” said BHS construction trades teacher and team sponsor, Craig Sullivan. “I must have had more than 60 people come up and say how they couldn’t believe our kids were that fast and that good. We actually had our framing up the first day and we called for inspection on the first day."

While the four students are judged on their ability to work as a team, each member has a different specialization. On the BHS team, Antonio Hernandez is the lead carpenter; Lyhue Penny is the lead electrician; William Glaser is the lead plumber; and Bailey Eickenloff is the lead mason. All four graduated in May. 

To qualify for nationals, teams have to win their respective state competitions. This team represents the fifth consecutive year that BHS has won the state title.

In addressing their continued success, Sullivan said Belton students are well prepared for this level of competition. “They have had lots of training and time spent practicing their skills,” he said. “And, because of our business partners, we have two students working as apprentices with a local plumber and electrician, and the other two are working as carpenters. They are in the trade.” 

Superintendent Susan Kincannon celebrated the team’s continued success and the important partners that contributed to it.

“I am so proud of these students and their instructor,” Kincannon said. “Winning a national championship is an impressive feat and defending that national title for a second year is truly remarkable. It’s evidence of the great instruction that happens in our career and technical education program, but it’s also evidence of the support that the program receives from our industry and education partners. Local businesses give time and expertise to help these students prepare and since May, the Texas State Technical College and Belton High School teams have come together twice for mock competition scrimmages.”