SkillsUSA winners reflect and prepare for state competition

Photos Supplied Selena Dieter (left), Megan Lesher (middle) and Tiffany Toth, BCTC West Campus first place winners at the SkillsUSA District Competition, are moving forward to the state level competition in April.

Hamburg Area High School students Selena Dieter, Montay Berger and Megan Lesher and their first place efforts at the SkillsUSA District Competition in late January at the Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center in Muhlenberg Township are taking them to the state-level conference from April 3–5 in Hershey, Dauphin County.

Dieter, a resident of Perry Township and junior in the Painting & Decorating program at the Berks Career and Technology Center’s West Campus in Bern Township, won her first place recognition by painting an old-fashioned door an almost white shade of blue.

She also painted trim on a wall and the wooden parts of a six-panel window section, with black paint working as a contrast and a way to let judges see if any smudges were included in the end labors.

Dieter explained that she began to take an interest in painting on the larger scale after moving into her family’s old farmhouse two years ago, fixing it up with her parents and testing out paintbrush strokes in the process.

She competed against five others and managed to finish before the rest in her category.

“I worried that I rushed through it since I finished first,” Dieter said, but thankfully, winning first place helped her to see that she’d in fact done a great job and was efficient with her timing and workmanship; the competition in this category spanned about two hours, she said.

Still looking into what she’d like to do after high school, Dieter said she plans to keep researching more colleges and hopes to specialize in refurnishing on the side, with whatever she does in her career.

“I’m excited and nervous but think my mom is more excited than me,” Dieter said with a laugh about knowing she is moving forward to the state competition in a few months.

Berger, a junior who lives in the Hamburg Borough, said he pursued the Plumbing & Heating program after his father suggested it as a good career route.

He attends the BCTC East Campus since this program is not offered at the West Campus.

Berger’s father, Jamie, is a mechanic and used to work in plumbing and heating as well.

“I understand a lot about it now, and I like that I don’t have to pay a plumber to come to my house if anything goes wrong with the plumbing,” Berger said.

He competed in a Teamworks category with fellow students as a carpenter, electrician and mason. His team won first place, competing against five other sets of students.

His portion of the competition involved installing a toilet and running the water lines but also helping the carpenter in his group to put together a platform and two walls to create a bathroom.

Berger noted that he’s also excited for the state-level competition in spring and appreciates the perks of people congratulating him everywhere he goes when they’ve heard the good news.

Megan Lesher, a senior who resides in Perry Township, won her first place spot through the Cosmetology program with the assistance of senior Tiffany Toth, who attends Kutztown Area High School.

Having been around the field of cosmetology for a good portion of her life, Lesher explained that her mother owns West End Salon and Day Spa in Maxatawny Township.

Lesher is interested in working in a salon setting, getting her license to teach cosmetology and possibly becoming a medical esthetician.

Toth served as Lesher’s hand model and will be advancing to the April competition with her.

Lesher decorated Toth’s nails with a bright red polish on one hand and applied two acrylic nails on the other while also joining in a tip and wrap on two other fingers.

Part of her polishing involved nail art—with one fingertip donning a peacock father pattern while another incorporated the mingling of animal prints from a giraffe, cheetah and tiger.

Lesher and Toth competed against more than half a dozen others and reacted enthusiastically to winning first place.

“I just like that each person can be something different or have their own style toward the industry,” Lesher reflected about why she is happy pursuing cosmetology at the BCTC West Campus.

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