Blackfoot's Skills USA competitors successful at state

BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot High School students swept the cabinet-making competition in the Idaho Skills USA competition April 7 and 8 in Boise.
Senior Dallin Evans placed first; senior Taylor Sandow placed second and Cody Cunningham placed third.
This is the ninth year in a row that a BHS cabinetry student has placed first at state. The top winner in each category qualifies to compete at the national level of Skills USA June 20-25 in Kansas City, Mo.
At the national level, Evans will be competing against 45 or 46 state winners, said BHS vocational cabinet teacher, Pete Golinveaux.
"He's going against the best of the best," Golinveaux said.
To qualify for state, students taking cabinetry in Blackfoot go through a local competition. Fifteen students were vying for six positions.
"It's hard to get past local competition," Golinveaux said.
This year the shop teacher took six students to state. He usually takes only four.
Golinveaux has taught at BHS for 12 years.
To compete at the national level, all competitors have taken gold (first place) in their state competitions. The silver medalist competes only if the gold winner is not going to nationals.
"I love to know how things work and how to put things together," Evans said. "I like to do things with my hands—I've always been that way.
"You take boards and end up with something beautiful," Evans said. "it's fun to know I built that; I put it together."
"I can see the beauty in the wood," Evans said. "I've learned to love it. It's one of my favorite things to do.
"[Golinveaux] needs to get lots of credit," Evans said. "He is not only a master cabinet builder; he is the best teacher."
Sandow said he likes the finished project.
"I like being able to say I built that and take pride in my work," Sandow said.
Cunningham said, "I like starting with nothing, like scraps and stuff, and ending with this gorgeous piece of wood that people pay lots of money for and everyone wants."
Morgan Gasca was the bronze medalist in automotive technology. Each competitor was testing on eight different stations to test the student's knowledge and skill.
The stations were electrical circuitry, brakes, hybrids, heating ventilation and air conditioning, tire alignment, electrical in car, trouble shooting and job interview.
Gasca said he likes auto technology because it constantly changes.
"There's a lot of things you have to learn," Gasca said.
Joe Lawhon earned a bronze in welding. He was tested in shielded, gas, flex cord and gas tungsten arc welding.
"It think it's cool to be able to bring different objects together and make it into one object," Lawhon said.
BHS welding teacher Cleone Chapman said the competitions, including the local ones, are designed as if you were going out for a job.
Chapman invites judges for the local competition who work in the welding field. These include people who work in pipe fitting, members of the iron workers union, welders from Spudnik, Lincoln Welding and Praxair.
"This year, a welder who was a former BHS student, flew in from Alaska to help judge the local welding competition," Chapman said.