GRHS students show what they're capable of

From building a nightstand in eight hours to running through a first aid scenario to creating intricate works of art, Green River High School students recently demonstrated and were recognized for their talents at the annual State Art Symposium and Wyoming SkillsUSA Championships.

The State Art Symposium took place in Casper April 17-19, and Wyoming SkillsUSA took place in Casper April 22-24. Work from both events was displayed in the Industrial and Fine Art Fair in the main gym of the high school over the past week.

Green River students also brought home a number of awards and top finishes from both the symposium and the SkillsUSA competition.

Earning art recognition

The GRHS Art Program took 175 pieces of art to the symposium this year, where 67 schools participated and over 4,700 pieces of artwork were displayed. Green River students received 73 ribbons for their artwork.

"Only 25% of the total pieces that go to the State Art Symposium receive a ribbon, and  43% of GRHS student work received a ribbon this year," Art Teacher Shane Steiss explained.

Each year, professional artists come in and judge the work and select 25 congressional awards for sculpture and pottery, Steiss explained. This year, Green River received six of the 25 congressional awards, which went to Brianna Uhrig, Elena Apperson, and Raygan Cochrun, who received four. The judges also select 25 congressional awards for drawings and paintings. Green River received three of these awards, with one for Ray Barrett and two for Tyler Castillion. Castillion's work was also selected to be displayed in a State Representatives office for the year. The First Lady of Wyoming also selected a group of work to be displayed in the governor's mansion for the year, and selected three students from GRHS - Cochrun, Castillion and Ryleigh Hawkins.  

Courtesy photo

Ryleigh Hawkins poses with her art chosen by the First Lady to be displayed in the governor's mansion.

"This year was an amazing success and all the kids that participated from our school did a great job," Steiss said. "We are so proud of them!"

Showcasing skills

Every year, a select group of students from GRHS also participate at the Wyoming SkillsUSA Championships, where they compete to demonstrate their abilities in a variety of areas.

This year, Green River had 16 students participate, and brought home eight medals for top three finishes, earning one gold, two silver and five bronze.

Star photo by Hannah Romero

Some of the students who participated in SkillsUSA include, in back from left, Spencer Wright, Carson Hensley, Chris Wilson and Chevy Stanton, and, in front from left, Lucas Todd, Adara Akin, Madison Jones and Enna Adams.

The first-place finish came from Madison Jones in CPR. Enna Adams also took third in the same competition, in which the students had to work through scenarios to demonstrate first aid skills.

"You just have to react based on your training," Adara Akin, who also competed in the category, explained.

Akin also joined Jones, Adams, and Lydia Westenskow on a team to compete in the Health Knowledge Bowl, where participants compete against other teams to answer questions and earn points. Green River's team took third place in the event.

Several of the same students also participated in Medical Terminology, which requires taking a 200-question test beforehand, and is "insanely hard," according to Akin. She explained that the health-related competitions are intense and include lots of students, many of whom come from schools with more health classes available.

Akin also participated in and reached the finals for the Job Interview category, and Adams competed in the Drop Skill category.

Other top-place finishes for Green River students came in the Automotive Refinishing and Cabinetmaking categories.

In Automotive Refinishing, students were given a panel and had to blend paint. In this competition, Carson Hensley took second place and Spencer Wright took third.

For cabinetmaking, students were given a prototype, drafting plans, a specified amount of wood, and eight hours in which to finish building their object, which was a nightstand this year.

"This is the toughest we've ever seen in probably 15 years, 16 years of doing this," Industrial Technology Teacher Tim Cassity noted of this year's cabinetmaking challenge. Garrett Smith ended up taking second in cabinetmaking, followed by Chris Wilson in third.

The last bronze medal earned by a Green River student came from Chevy Stanton taking third place in the Culinary Arts competition. For this event, students were given four ingredients that had to be incorporated into a dish that included specific elements, and they were required to plate two of everything. While they could plan their menu beforehand, they only had three hours to cook.

Other students participated in other events as well, like Lucas Todd who participated in welding.

All the students faced challenges, from learning new techniques to working under limitations to battling nerves. However, they also experienced the reward of working hard and doing well, and gained experience for their futures.

Several students received confirmation of the paths they want to pursue, like Todd, who realized he can hold up under the tough conditions of welding for six hours. Others realize they may want to pursue a new path, like Adams, who enjoyed the fast-pace of the CPR competition so much she's now considering being a paramedic.

The competition also provided a chance to learn lessons that apply to all of life.

"It's really taught me to just push through," Wilson said. "You have to finish and put forth your best effort."

Smith agreed that moving forward through mistakes was an important takeaway from the experience, and working hard is something he's learned from taking Mr. Cassity's classes in general.

"The more time you put into something, the better outcome it's going to have," he said, adding, "It's got to be quality time."

Jones and Stanton highlighted how they learned the need to rely on yourself and trust your abilities.

Akin also pointed out that a main takeaway for her was accepting that you won't always win, and "knowing that you're not always the best but always trying your best."

For several of the students, SkillsUSA gave them the opportunity to perform under pressure, access their strengths, and, as Wright said, "show what you're capable of."


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