Maplewood Student Ben Gibson Receives Second Place at National SkillsUSA Competition, Qualifies for World Competition

Maplewood graduate Ben Gibson competed in and won second place at the national SkillsUSA competition that was held in June of 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. This achievement gives Gibson the chance to interview for the opportunity to participate in the WorldSkills Competition in Russia in 2019.

SkillsUSA is a program that encourages students to develop their skills and careers through competition. To reach his current ranking, Gibson had to participate in local, regional and statewide SkillsUSA challenges, demonstrating the level of skill needed to reach the national competition in Louisville. At the national completion, Gibson competed against 33 other students from across the country to place second in the nation.

Within a six-hour time limit, Gibson was able to successfully build a brick pier with a pattern design on each side. He was one of only six other participants to complete the project and was judged on the level, plumb, measurement, production and appearance of the pier.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Ben and what an honor it is to teach such a talented, driven and hard-working young man,” said Robert Pavkov, masonry instructor at Maplewood Career Center.

Gibson will now begin the interview process for the WorldSkills Competition, where a panel of judges will ultimately decide if he is chosen to participate. As many as 100,000 spectators, public policymakers, employers, teachers, trainers, technical experts and government officials from around the globe will attend the 2019 competition in Russia.

“Ben spent almost every day of his two years at Maplewood working and practicing for this opportunity,” said Pavkov. “When he was a student, he developed several techniques for the quality work he always demanded of himself and insisted I pick out any flaw in his work. I am extremely proud of how far he has come.”

The WorldSkills Competition was established in 1950 in Madrid, Spain, and the most recent competition took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in 2017. Currently, there are 77 member countries and regions that constitute WorldSkills International.

“Congratulations to Ben on his outstanding performance,” said Maplewood Superintendent Randall Griffith. “An impressive amount of skill and expertise is needed to compete at the national level, and we wish him all the best in his career and possible bid for a world championship.”

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