A National Contender
While many American students apply for internships in college, the Electrical Systems Technology Program, established by the Technical Apprenticeship Program of the U.S. Department of Labor, helps students gain a leg up by providing them with the trade’s required knowledge and skills in America’s high schools.
As a competitive event with national and state competitions, the participating students have amassed great success this season, with four individual projects placing first: Hunter Bakel, junior, Emilio Rivas, sophomore, Greg Charlesworth, senior, and Paul Zuskind, freshman— with Bakel and Charlesworth advancing to the national competition in Kansas City, Missouri.
Adding to their success, two team projects also won first place- Sabrina Levingston, sophomore, with Christopher Tovares, sophomore, and Stephan Gillenwater, sophomore, with Jesus Madera, sophomore.
The Electrician’s Apprentice
After three years in the program and a summer internship at Eldrige Electric last summer, Charlesworth was ready to take on a monster project, an elevator.
“Planning the elevator took a while to actually get a solid idea as to what I was doing, but once I did I welded the frame at home in a couple of hours over a few days, and then wired piece by piece when I had the time. A few hours in the morning, a few after school, some lunches, and it came together,” Charlesworth said.
Bakel competed in two events, advancing in the “Wire-off” competition, where he was given a blueprint and expected to apply his knowledge to create a functioning electrical board. While that may initially sound normal for an electrical competition, competitors are expected to finish and present the project… without testing.
“[We’re] not really going in blindly; I’ve done this for three years now so I’m comfortable doing it. It’s just stressful the last hour and a half when I know I’m pressed for time and I know the judges are expecting something,” Bakel said.
Out Of The Kitchen
Adhering to the decades’ old motto, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, Levingston, one of few females in the program, remains unaffected by the overwhelming gender disparity.
“I just have to deal with a lot of guys. If you can’t handle sarcasm, then you shouldn’t be in it in the first place,” she said.
Her win in Residential Wiring proves that common gender assumptions have no correlation with success.
“Although I was freaking out a bit, I felt really good about winning. It was sort of an empty feeling though, knowing that I wouldn’t get to advance to nationals. However, I did get a cool little trophy. That was pretty nice,” Levingston said.