Dickinson High School, Roughrider students nationally place in SkillsUSA competition

·3 min read

Jul. 1—ATLANTA, G.A. — Ten students representing Dickinson High School and the Roughrider Area Career and Tech Center recently competed on the national level in Atlanta, Georgia, bringing back home some top place finishes, including fifth place for power equipment.

The group of students headed down to the South from June 20 through June 24 for SkillsUSA, the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, which showcases more than 6,500 outstanding career and technical education students who are all state contest winners.

As 2023 incoming DHS


s, Hunter Moreno placed fifth in power equipment technology and Kelby Gion placed seventh in architectural drafting. Incoming sophomore Bailey Binstock placed 19th in the nation for prepared speech. Kate Enney, another incoming senior, also attended the conference as a voting delegate.

On the Roughrider side of things,

Rachel Thompson

placed 10th nationally for firefighting and Charly Wyatt placed 25th for First Aid/CPR. The Health Knowledge Bowl, which consisted of Brinishia DeVall, Dezirae Grinsteinner, Ashley Pinto-Melendez and Aidynn Yoder, also competed at the competition.

"For me, I'm extremely proud of them. They did a phenomenal job down there," architectural drafting instructor Maggie Lehman said. "They each had a goal in mind. They went down and with all the distractions of travel and just being in a new big city, they stayed focused and did what they needed to get done. It's nice to be able to see that we have good kids in southwest North Dakota; we know we have good kids. And so, it's really nice to actually see them get acknowledged for it because far too many times they don't get the recognition."

Since 2016, every year that Dickinson High School has participated at the national level, they have placed within the top five in power equipment, adviser Maggie Lehman said, adding that it's quite a big deal coming from rural North Dakota. Lehman credits Lyle Smith, the power sports instructor/adviser, for guiding the competitors each year.

"They've got a rockstar adviser... When we go to state, his attitude is, 'We're not going to state, we're going to win nationals.' And so, even at the state level, he's always looking for the next level. It's not a stepping stone. We're pushing that obstacle out of the way. And so, he's just very passionate and does a very good job of prepping his kids for nationals," Lehman said.

Lehman noted that the power equipment category is all about small engines, such as snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawn mowers and weed whackers.

"The competition is made up of stations with a set problem that the students have to identify and solve in an allotted time limit," she said. "And so, it can range anything from reassembling to electrical issues to starting issues — anything... They have to do a station where they have to troubleshoot and actually get the motor to start. Some stations are really easy and some are very difficult... It's similar to automotive, but it's a lot smaller engines."

Scott Schmidt, building trades adviser, was the third DHS adviser who attended the conference.


advisers included Jaclyn Guillaume, Courtney Sadowsky and Mason Geiger.

"It was a privilege to attend nationals with our students and we're very proud of all of them," Guillaume said.

The students in more than 100 different trades, technical and leadership fields competed hands-on during the event, according to the SkillsUSA


. Contests are conducted with the guidance of industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and test competencies are set by industry.

"I just think we have a huge opportunity to kind of partner education with our local industry. And so, with some of these top finishes, maybe we can get more of the awareness out there to make some of those partnerships a little bit stronger," Lehman added.