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I posted photos of woodworking projects entered in the Texas SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference this past weekend at

I thought some of you might like to see the results of another contest that I have chaired for a number of year. It is called Chapter Display. The students in a SkillsUSA Chaper (club) build a display to promote a theme for the school year. The theme for 2013 is Prepared With the Skills America Needs.

It is a great teamwork and problem solving contest for high school students. They have to design the display and then make it work. Lot's of problem solving! They also learn to work with others to reach a common goal, not easy even for adults.

The displays must fit within minimum and maximum measurements. Most are near the maximum of 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 7 ft. high. Almost all are made of wood. There is no limit to the kind or cost of materials used (saw a national winner from Florida made of 2 in. Walnut, cost $2000 in 1989 dollars and one made of brick weighing 3000 lbs from Oklahoma).

The students document the planning and construction of the display in a notebook. One student has to do a 5 to 7 min. presentation for the judges. State winners go on to the national SkillsUSA Leadership Conference in Kansas City the last week in June. The display, notebook, and the presentation are all scored by a set of criteria.

The first display will be representing Texas at nationals. It was designed by students in an Advertising Design class. The display was made to be interactive. I resembles a Pachinko machine. The display was made of plywood that had been cut out on a CNC router. Ping pong balls are fed into any of the three openings seen on the lower right side of the display. The balls are feed to the top by a blower motor and fall through the display. A red lever on the lower left can be pulled to release the balls into the trough on the lower left. The white balls around the outside are light bulbs. The graphics on the inside were designed using software and printed on a large format printer. The sides are painted with chalkboard paint and there is chalk for students to write messages.

The second display is from a construction program. The podiums show the steps a student goes through in their K-12 education.

The third display is from a construction program as well. The crane inside the display was a functioning model. It can be operated using controllers on the outside of the display. It came apart in 5 pieces.

The fourth display is from a school that won the Texas contest in 2012. The tall portion was intended to turn but the students had not been successful with that portion of the design.

The fifth display was manufactured using a CNC router. The large P opened up with hinges on the left side to display additional information on the inside.

I do not remember what type of program developed the last display. It was made of MDF. There was a flat screen tv in the back of the camera that played a slide show.

This is a contest that my students competed in when I was teaching. They won 1st once, 2nd once and 3rd once at the national contest back in the 90's.



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I am constantly amazed at the creativity and thinking skills of Vocational Students!!

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Holy moly! Compared to these, my skills are off the chart….. at the other end! Wow!!

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but Long Live V.I.C.A.!

These are awesome looking displays. Best of luck to the winning team. Nationals is an experience unlike none other.


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Don't know if anyone is watching this post. The first display was chosen as the Gold Medal winner and the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City on June 28. Really proud of those kids and their teachers. Great work.