Washburn Tech Medals Twice at National Competition

July 3, 2014

Topeka, Kan. – Restoring the shine to a damaged vehicle takes a lot of skill and a pair of Washburn Tech students proved they are future stars in the field. Cory Petit and Tristan Hughes, both of Topeka, placed in the top three of their respective contests at the SkillsUSA national competition on June 24 in Kansas City, Mo.

Petit, who will be a senior this fall at Shawnee Heights High School, won a silver medal in the Collision Repair Technology competition, high school division. Hughes, a recent graduate of Washburn Tech and Washburn Rural High School, walked away with the bronze medal in the high school division of the Auto Refinishing Technology contest.

“It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I was able to compete,” said Petit, whose contest included a written test, metal work on a fender, plastic repair on a bumper cover and structural diagnosis and measuring. “You get out of it what you put into it. I worked really hard to prepare for the competition and my instructor, Eric Showalter, is a big reason for my success. He worked with us so much. I am looking forward to the working world; it sounds like a fun future.”

For Hughes, the competition began with a written test and job interview and ended with painting and blending out a spot in a vehicle’s panel. He also credits his success to Showalter.

“I owe a lot to Mr. Showalter. I have never had a teacher who went out of his way so much to help us out; he would do anything for us,” said Hughes. “The competition was a lot of fun and it’s nice that all of the hard work paid off.”

SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate their occupational and leadership skills. At the national competition, more than 6,000 high school and post-secondary students competed by working against the clock and each other to display their expertise. Overall, 19 Washburn Tech students qualified to compete this year on the national level.