Caroline Career and Technology (CCTC) student Cody Gaertner won first place at the Maryland State SkillsUSA Championship in the category of Cabinet Making. The SkillsUSA Maryland State Championships is the state-level competition for high school and post-secondary students who are enrolled in Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs.
According to Mr. Hall, construction teacher and co-advisor for SkillsUSA along with Ms. Christine Wright-Gadow, Cody’s pursuit of a gold medal began three years ago when he entered the program at CCTC. “He quickly became skilled at using power tools and reading measurements and blueprints,” shared Mr. Hall. He encouraged Cody to enter the cabinet making competition at the State Championship. That first year, Cody won third place, bringing home the bronze medal.
In preparation for the second year’s competition, Mr. Hall helped Cody hone his skills, with a particular focus on reading and understanding blueprints. Once again, Cody won third place and his second bronze medal.
The third year brought a change in the competition. Instead of the same cabinet being built by the contestants, a new company was conducting the event and providing a different set of blueprints for a new cabinet. Mr. Hall stated, “When the competition was over, Cody’s cabinet looked more finished than others.” Later that day, they learned that Cody had won the gold medal. As a first-place winner, Cody will represent Maryland at the National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Louisville, Kentucky this summer.
In addition to taking home the top prize in the state, along with the SkillsUSA signature red jacket, Cody also received a job offer from the company conducting the cabinet making competition.
Cody was recognized at the May board of education meeting for his accomplishment. When asked if he would be accepting the job offer following graduation, Cody shared that he had decided to attend Chesapeake College in the fall.