Women in Construction

Natalie Jones, Reporter

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Clovis High’s competitive constructive team pulled off a victory March 15 at the Career Skills Challenge. Juniors Sydney Barber and Trinity Adcock, and senior Lavenia Reed were named the Valley Champions at the Career Skills Challenge at Fresno City College, defeating eight other all-male groups. The Career Skills Challenge had more than 3000 participants from schools within the region, not just Fresno County.

“The idea is to bring all of the career tech kids together to compete against each other in their specialty area,” said CHS construction teacher Jay Eichmann.

The competition has challenges for every skill imaginable: culinary, medical, fire fighting, crime scene investigation, and many more. The Clovis High all girls team took first against 11 other all male teams.

“Girls are different and having different qualities and benefits to the construction industry. It is good that the boys learned that just because the other them are girls does not mean they cannot contribute, and in this case run circles around them,” Eichmann said.

The construction competition is broken down into four areas to test the student’s skills in residential construction as a whole. The first is reading plans and framing a wall. Students are given a set of plans and they have to read the plans, cut all the lumber, and then put it together all according to the plan.  

“One of the tricky things is that they do not give you all of the dimensions. So students have to know how to use a scale ruler and do math to do the needed calculations,” Eichmann said.

The next section is roof framing which is worth one third of the competition. The students are given a blueprint and they have to cut a rafter.

“There is lots of math involved to make sure the rafter is cut perfectly,” Eichmann siad.

The third challenge is an estimating area. Students are given a full set of plans and have to guess how much of a particular supply is needed to carry out the plans. This includes the estimated price of a delivery, etc. All done without calculators.

The last category is professionalism and safety.

“Over all the categories the girls had an all time high score; one of the highest they had ever had,” Eichman said.

The girls went into the competition well prepared. All of the curriculum of the course prepares students for the competition.

“The intense preparation was two weeks before the competition, said Eichmann. “The students didn’t think that two weeks would be enough time, but I reassured through the fact that everything we do all year long is geared towards training you for this competition.” Eichmann said.

Trinity, Sydney, Lavenia  were thrilled about winning the competition, and beating the boys while at it.

“ I remember all of us freaking out when we found out we won. We were shocked that the boys placed second. There were so many boy teams, and it was so cool to be the only girls team and place first.” Junior Trinity Adcock expressed.

Jay Eichman is proud of the girl’s accomplishments and believes that the boys in the competition can learn a thing or two from them.

“When the girls won it was very humbling for all of the other teams. They were the only girls there competing against all male teams. I think the girl’s victory will help those boys in their professional life when they are working alongside of women on the construction site and recognize the competence,” Eichman said.

Sergio Zepeda, a Clovis High senior, was a part of the boys construction team that placed second in the competition right behind the girls.  

“It was a pretty good experience. It was my first time competing, so I think we did really well. We were a little disappointed that we placed second right behind to the girls, but we are still proud of how we competed,” Zepeda said

The impressive victory did have some up sides. The construction program received store credit from Lowe’s, and the girls got a hammer with their names engraved.

“The big benefit of winning an award like this is bragging rights. All of our sister schools and programs throughout the region were all at the competition, and we were number one.” Eichman said.

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