HVHS students place in SkillsUSA state competition

Published 8:21 am Friday, April 6, 2018

Students in the electrical and welding programs at Happy Valley High School recently competed in the SkillsUSA State Competition and brought some honors back to their school.

Nathaniel Nickles captured second place in the Welding Sculpture competition with his creation of a tomahawk embedded in a log.

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“It started off with a tomahawk since this is Happy Valley and we are the warriors,” Nickles said of his inspiration.

From there the idea grew to have the tomahawk embedded in a log. To create the log and the handle for the tomahawk, Nickles used metal pipes. He cut the blade of the tomahawk from a piece of metal. For the fine details, Nickles used metal spatulas to create feathers for the handle and a metal spoon to form a leaf on the log base. He used a variety of welding and metalworking techniques to create the texture and details on the sculpture.

“I’ve worked on it since the start of football season,” Nickles said. “I have over 100 hours in it for sure.”

At the SkillsUSA State Competition, Nickles had to go through an interview where he discussed the processes he used to create his sculpture. He also had to submit a resume and work portfolio documenting his methods as well as a step-by-step progression of his work.

In addition to capturing second place in his competition, Nickles also earned a significant scholarship to Tulsa Welding School located in Jacksonville, Florida.

The team of Brad Atkins, Austin Ayers, and Lane Kyte captured fourth place during the SkillsUSA for their fabrication of a rocket stove.

Going into the contest, the students knew they would be creating this type of stove, but they did not know the size specifications and measurements.

At the event, the students received a design for the stove then had to scale the project down. This required them to calculate the scaled changes, draft out the plans, cut their pieces, and complete the build. The stove featured a chimney, a chute to feed wood into the fire, a cooking surface, and a way to clean out ashes from the fire.

“It tests more of their fabrication skills than just welding,” said HVHS welding teacher Daniel Buckles. “The guys did really good. I’m proud of them.”