Tech student scores high in skills competition
Originally Published on Wednesday, May 08, 2013
By Chris Stevens / The Daily Item
Richard McIntosh with the help of Marshall Donahue has done what no Lynn Vocational Technical Institute student has done before: brought home a blue ribbon from SkillsUSA.
“We came in first in metal fabrication and second in the Best in Techspo,” said McIntosh. “I was really surprised.”
SkillsUSA is a national organization that focuses on vocational/technical schools and holds a yearly competition where students get to compete in their trade area. McIntosh competed twice, as part of a group and with an individual project, where he was allowed to have a helper, Donahue. The individual competition, which he won, was part of Techspo, an offshoot of sorts of SkillsUSA.
“There were nine other metal fabrication projects from across the state,” said LVTI Metal Fabrication teacher Arthur Badger. “The guys worked for seven days, five and a half to six hours a day on this project — they worked hard.”
McIntosh said he knew he wanted to create something out of the ordinary for the competition.
View photos of their work
“You see mostly flowers, like forged roses,” said Donahue.
“We only had a week and we spent the first day brainstorming,” McIntosh said. “Then I saw a picture of a bench with scroll work.”
Badger had the boys reverse engineer the bench, design it piece by piece and then they got to work. McIntosh called the end result a love seat park bench. Its glossy, black wrought iron frame work made up of scrolls and small details supports a wooden seat and back that also sport a deep glossy finish.
“It was definitely a jaw dropper,” said LVTI Principal Diane Paradis. “And they loved the story.”
The story, which McIntosh typed up and included with his entry, is that his brother proposed to his now sister-in-law on a very similar bench.
McIntosh said they improvised much of the scroll work that included twisted cross pieces, heart shaped legs and bands along the long scrolls that give the appearance of holding the pieces in place.
“Badger suggested we add these because it looks more professional,” he said.
Badger admitted he was tough on the boys, pushing them to do the little extras that set the piece apart.
“Now they understand why,” he said.
The only “oh no” moment was when the pair went to attach the arms to the back of the bench and they didn’t quite reach. Donahue said Badger stepped in and helped them add small wrought iron hearts at the top of each arm piece that gave them just the extension they needed.
“I’m just happy it worked,” Donahue said.
“They did a fantastic job,” Badger said.
Donahue said the bench garnered so much attention at the competition someone offered McIntosh $1,000 for it.
But the bench is not for sale. McIntosh said it will stay at the school and he was quick to add that it will stay in the metal fabrication shop.
The pair, both juniors, are already busy planning out next year’s projects in their heads. McIntosh is toying with a treehouse lamp idea but Donahue said he is undecided. Paradis said she hopes the boys’ victory will give other students the incentive to participate. She called the event a great way for her students to showcase their talent.
“I love SkillsUSA,” McIntosh said. “Anyone who goes to a tech school should join.”
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