In just her second year as a welding student, Senior Kayleigh Eastman has already experienced tremendous success, as she recently won gold in the SkillsUSA NH welding competition. For Dennis Carrier, her instructor at the Berlin Regional Career & Technical Center, her accolade exemplifies a winning attitude.
“Kayleigh is an achiever who works hard in the shop and utilizes her time in to become the best she can be,” he noted. “She was also willing to spend time after school in the shop a few days a week for the month prior to the competition.”
In winning the state championship, which entailed that she complete a written test and demonstrate her skills in four practical welding processes, Kayleigh qualified for the national championship in June in Kentucky. It is an opportunity no female has ever experienced in New Hampshire before.
“Both my teacher and I remember having a conversation and I said that I wanted to be the first girl to make it to nationals,” she said. “I am still in disbelief that I accomplished this because this has been a dream of mine since I was in the introductory class.”
Noting that winning the award has made her feel “very thankful for being able to be in such a great program,” Kayleigh acknowledged she had to dig deep in order to achieve her goal.
On competition day, I was a bit nervous, but the judges did a good job of creating a welcoming environment for all of the competitors,” she said.
“Winning the state competition was an especially great honor since I was the only girl,” she added. “Being the only girl was something that further fueled my initiative to get better because I wanted to prove girls can weld just as good.”
While demonstrating proficiency in welding is of course critical, Carrier cited other practical skills that are developed in the CTE program.
Throughout the program, she has learned leadership skills, the ability to work independently, and how to work with others to complete projects,” he said. “She has also learned how to perform under pressure.”
For Kayleigh, her experience in the welding program at the Berlin Regional Career & Technical Center has been decidedly positive.
“My favorite part of the program is being in a class that feels like a family,” she said. “Everyone is very supportive of each other. The program also offers many great opportunities like being able to compete for SkillsUSA and having the option to get certified in Structural Steel Unlimited.”
SkillsUSA is an applied method of instruction for preparing America’s high performance workers in public career and technical programs. It provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills.
SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives’, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. To learn more, visit SkillsUSA.org.