FMHS carpentry team again tops in the state

From left Hayden Wolfe, Andrew Schaeffer, Landes Williams, and Emmett Kruse stand with their top-ranked carpentry project Friday in Ames. Photo courtesy of FMHS.

Bloodhounds qualify for consecutive nationals after two-year pandemic hiatus

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison High School trades teams continue to showcase as one of the top programs, if not the top program, in the state.

This year the Carpentry team again made that case.

The team of Landes Williams, Andrew Schaefer, Hayden Wolfe and Emmett Kruse competed Friday at the SkillUSA State Competition in Ankeny.

The event titled “Team Works,” had elements of carpentry, plumbing, and electrical on a combined 6-hour build project that took place on the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny. This year’s event was held outside.

“The weather that day was in the 30s with sustained winds of 20 mph, and it snowed on the competitors as they were starting the contest,” said FMHS trades instructor Clint Kobelt.

The event was a national qualifying event with the best teams in the nation facing off in Atlanta in June. At the national level, masonry is added to the list of required skills. The national competition is a 3-day build due to the complexity of the event.

Fort Madison finished in the top half at that national event last held in Louisville. Kruse’s brother Owen was on that team.

In Ankeny, students were given the prints Thursday afternoon and we required to make a presentation Friday morning that outlined safety and risk assessments, an overview of how each team member would contribute, and what challenges they anticipated based on the prints and information at hand.

FMHS senior Landes Williams gives a second look at some measurements as part of the Hounds 1st-place effort at the SkillsUSA competition in Ankeny Friday. Photo courtesy of FMHS

Each student had to prepare a resume, give the presentation to the judges, work as a team, problem solve, and put out a quality product, all while working under a deadline.

“The contests represents everything that every employer is looking for and these four young men proved what I’ve always known, which is that they are ready for whatever comes next in their lives,” Kobelt said.

Williams is headed to college in the fall with plans to run his own construction business after college. Schaefer is taking an entrance exam for the electrical union, and Wolfe will be starting his career with Mohrfeld Electric after graduation. Kruse still has another year of high school

“These guys are destined for great things. Honestly it has very little to do with the Trades Program at FMHS. Call it what you want, employability skills, soft skills, critical thinking skills, I call it the intangibles,” Kobelt said. “The things that some think shouldn’t be graded in school because they aren’t “academic skills” but are by far the most important skills to have to be ready for the challenges that life will throw at them, and they all have it.

“Even Emmett Kruse as a junior has demonstrated such an understanding of how to handle adversity with a positive attitude and a willingness to work. And he’s got another year of school. He’ll return next year and show the next crew what it takes to be successful not just at competition but in life.”

Kobelt said he’s been blessed to have such solid groups of students over the years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys and to make it to nationals back-to-back is a testament to the programs focus on getting students ready for life, whatever that looks like.”

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