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Shania Clifford, celebrating winning gold for the Masonry program at the Skills USA State Competition.
Shania Clifford, celebrating winning gold for the Masonry program at the Skills USA State Competition.
May 12, 2016 2:20 PM CDT

Masonry student wins Gold

Shania Clifford advances to Nationals in June


Despite the odds being against her, Shania Clifford from the Scioto County Career and Technical Center’s Masonry program won the first place gold medal at the State Skills USA competition held April 26 and 27.

“The instructors from the other schools didn’t expect her to win. They kept telling me that there was another student who had the competition in the bag. Well, he placed third. For her to go up there and beat them, it’s quite a feat,” said Masonry Instructor, Larry Moore.

Clifford is a junior in the Masonry program at the Scioto County Career and Technical Center.

She is also the first female from the Masonry program to win Gold at the state competition.

“We are very, very proud of Shania, she is paying close attention to detail in Masonry. Traditionally, you don’t think of that in Masonry, you think of the ‘hulking brute’ stereotypes and things like that,” said Superintendent Stan Jennings.

“In reality, you have to pay close attention to those details or your bricks aren’t going to look appropriate, they won’t be on bond, there are all sorts of problems that come out. The fact that she was able to do that at the state level, isn’t surprising to me, but the fact that she is in a non-traditional field and proving to be successful in it is something to be applauded.”

Skills USA is a national student organization serving students enrolled in career and technical education training programs.

The state competition, held in Columbus, is attended by more than 3,000 students, teachers, parents and industry representatives, the state conference includes 80 contests, a career expo, state elections, and much more.

Clifford competed against other masonry students in a column building contest. Students were given specific measurements and guidelines and had to execute them within a given time-frame as best they could.

“Shania won with a 72 point lead over the second place competitor, which is pretty unheard of,” said Moore. “Most win with only a 5 point lead, but she really pulled ahead. I always tell my students they can do anything if they have determination, desire and drive.”

Clifford wasn’t the only student from the Trades and Industry programs to place at the State competition.

Students Timmy Henderson, Hayleigh Messer and Nathan Sexton from the Welding program participated in a group competition, welding a stool, bringing home the second place Silver medal.

Trenton Suggs from the Industrial Maintenance program won the third place Bronze medal in a plumbing competition.

The National Leadership and Skills Conference will be held June 20-25, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clifford is hopeful that she will bring home another win for the Career and Technical Center.

“It’s exciting but I’m nervous, the competition will be a lot like state, but of course bigger, explained Clifford.”We don’t know what we’re going to be building yet. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m ready to start practicing.”

About the Author

Ciara Conley is a journalist for the Portsmouth Daily Times.

This article was originally published in Portsmouth Daily Times. This content has been republished with the permission of the publisher.

Photos by Ciara Conley.


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