Wautoma High School students attended the regional competition at Fox Valley Technical College in February where two students placed in the top three. Olivia Arreola won first place at the regional competition, while Ben Mantei took third place. Pictured at the regional awards ceremony are: Jesus Duran, Colton Belfeuil, Olivia Arreola and Ben Mantei and Wautoma Weldign Instructor and Skills USA Advisor Jessica Lloyd.

SkillsUSA Welders roll-on towards state

With adding more success to their record from recent regional competition, the anticipation is building for the SkillsUSA team from Wautoma to attend the Wisconsin SkillsUSA Championships in April.

Senior Olivia Arreola led her teammates by placing in two recent regional events in February at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau and Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.
The students started their regional tour at NTC, where Arreola took second place in Welding and Ben Mantei followed her with a third place finish. The placing was similar for the Fox Valley Technical College Regional Welding contest two weeks later with Arreola taking first in the competition, and Mantei rounded out the top three with another third place finish. Arreola also competed in Welding Sculpture and was awarded first place by default due to competitor cancellations.

Although not as sweet of a victory, this first place finish at FVTC guarantees Arreola spot in the state championships in April. Last year, she placed second in the Wisconsin Championships for Welding Sculpture and earned a trip to Louisville, KY, for the National SkillsUSA Championships – making her the first Wautoma SkillsUSA member to travel to the national competition in the club’s history.

During this school year, the Wautoma SkillsUSA club boasts an impressive record of 14 top three victories by four students in Welding, Job Interview and Welding Sculpture.

According to SkillsUSA advisor and welding instructor, Jessie Lloyd, this is also a record for the Wautoma SkillsUSA club in both student participation and victories. She credits this year’s success to having a group of students who are eager to test their skills in competition.

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