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Statesboro High senior has Skills
Stephen Weaver wins top honors at national event
stephen weaver web
Statesboro High principal Marty Waters, right, congratulates senior Stephen Weaver after Weaver took top honors in regional and state competitions of the SkillsUSA organization. - photo by Special
    At Statesboro High School, many students study vocational trades. In fact, senior Stephen Weaver has just completed his regional and state competitions of the SkillsUSA organization, taking top honors at each level.
    That means Weaver is headed for the national level of the Skills competition in Kansas City, Mo., in June. His area of study/competition: Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC).
    This is not Weaver’s first trip to Kansas City: He actually made it to the Skills finals last year in the field of HVAC, as well.
    At the nationals, each student has 20 minutes at each of seven “stations,” where he or she is challenged to take a written exam, solve electrical problems, display brazing skills, show an understanding of safety issues and be able to service refrigerant components.
    In addition, all of the competitors will be placed randomly in teams and tested on their ability to work together as a group. Their task: to correctly solve a complex problem (or set of problems) in the shortest amount of time.
    SkillsUSA is a national organization that formerly was known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). The group assists teachers and high school and college students to prepare for careers in trade, technical and skilled services.
    Weaver comes from a family who earns their livelihood in this business: his grandfather owns Deals Heating and Air, and his father and older brother work in the family business, too.
    Weaver has been dual enrolled this year. This means that he has been taking classes such as “Economics and Citizenship” at SHS while being enrolled at Ogeechee Technical College (OTC), where he is taking courses such as “Fundamentals of Electricity.”
    His schedule allows him to be a part of three worlds: He gains technical knowledge at OTC; practical knowledge at SHS; and “on-the-job” training at Deals.
    Statesboro’s Skills coordinator Ike Hubbard, who is also the Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator at SHS, speaks very highly of Stephen. He said Weaver is a perfect example of the kind of student his programs were created to assist.
    Weaver said he looks for the day he graduates from OTC, as he will have amassed a number of certificates of proficiency in the HVAC field. The certifications will allow him to handle the biggest and the most complicated air conditioning jobs in residential and industrial areas.
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