By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — There’s more to this life than just wielding a hammer or pounding a nail.
Students who participate in Pinkerton Academy’s SkillsUSA team are hard at work all year long, not only learning in the school’s Career and Technical Education program. They also are studying to take part in competitions putting their woodworking, electrical and other vocational talents to the test.
Add in community service projects, and students are learning valuable skills and how to help others.
Recently. Pinkerton students helped a Derry woman by building a new deck on her home.
Students are also working on a ramp for another resident in need.
These are all things that make a well-rounded vocational student, according to senior Stephanie Crepeau, and it’s much more than just building things.
“I think that’s the best part of community service, especially within our organization – it’s enjoyable and fun because we get to work together and do something for somebody else,” she said.
Stephanie is among less than a handful of young women taking part in some of the CTE programs involving construction and woodworking.
She knew it was something she wanted to do.
“When I was a little girl, we’d go driving around and I’d be looking at all the houses,” she said. “I liked playing with Legos, too.”
At Pinkerton, she took on courses and learned the building trades, taking part in projects like building an actual house. Students are now working on a cold storage building across the street from the campus that is part of the school’s CTE expansion program.
Not only do students learn all about building and engineering, but also study to take on those SkillsUSA competitions throughout the year. Students who score high at SkillsUSA events qualify to move on to higher contests at the state and national levels.
Stephanie said competitions are not just about who can hammer a nail the fastest, but also public speaking, writing, business models and engineering.
She hopes to continue in her field by attending a college that will give her a strong construction management major.