ESHS students show off skills at state competition

Thursday, April 21, 2022
Eureka Springs High School fared well at the SkillsUSA competition held recently in Hot Springs. From left to right, junior Shane Holloway won a gold medal in carpentry, sophomore Alex Tapia won bronze in plumbing, sophomore AJ Moloney won gold in plumbing, sophomore Evan Agresto won the silver medal in plumbing and freshman Kolton Smith won silver in masonry.
Photo courtesy OF Eureka Springs Schools

Eureka Springs High School will be represented on the national stage in June as two students recently won state competitions in their respective trade fields.

In the state SkillsUSA competition held recently in Hot Springs, junior Shane Holloway won a gold medal in the carpentry competition and sophomore AJ Moloney won gold in plumbing.

Gold medal winners automatically advance to the SkillsUSA national competition, which will be held June 20-24 in Atlanta.

“These kids work so hard all year long and it’s a pretty satisfying feeling when you get to see some of these kids who work so hard and put in so much time be recognized and get that medal,” said Jason Hill, Eureka Springs High School’s SkillsUSA teacher.

In addition to advancing to the national competition, each winner at the state level also gets a tuition waiver to one of 11 trade schools in Arkansas, Hill said.

“These kids have an eagerness to learn and get good at a particular trade,” Hill said. “It’s very rewarding.”

In addition to the two gold medal winners, Eureka Springs had three other students finish in the top three in their respective competition.

Sophomore Evan Agresto finished second place and got a silver medal in the plumbing competition, freshman Kolton Smith placed second for a silver medal in masonry and sophomore Alex Tapia came in third and received a bronze medal in plumbing.

Other students competing included senior Ayden Leavell, freshman Troy Tharp and freshman JD Eckman in the electrical competition and freshman Riley Chapman in cabinetmaking.

Hill said with so many underclassmen already competing, the future is bright for Eureka Springs’ program.

“The freshmen this year have really shown some big interest in continuing on in a trade field,” he said. “I have several kids whose parents I went to school with who are in the program and are getting to see so many more things than what their parents got to see.”

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association that serves middle school, high school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.

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