Yesterday high school students from all over southwest Oregon met in Coquille for the 43rd High School South Coast Skills Day.
Thirteen different school districts with a combined 400 students came together to compete in shop skills, mathematics, arts, music, drama, and humanities.
“The main thing that we really like is that kids are here doing what they like to do instead of doing the things we require them to do,” Coquille High School Principal Jeff Philley said.
Coquille High School began hosting the South Coast Skills Day last year. The competition used to be held at Southwestern Oregon Community College, but has since moved.
“We stage a lot of athletic contests at our school, and we have students do a lot of daily assessment and testing. This is event is a showcase that allows students to compete in some of their outside interests and skills,” Philley said.
Last year writing competitions were introduced to the event. Sixty-two creative young writers were able to participate in three different competitions, two of which are brand new to the event this year.
“The writing completion started last year with our flash fiction competition where students are given a few different writing prompts, and they have a certain number of words to develop a story. They’re also doing argumentative writing and dialogue only writing, which are new,” Philley said.
Over 100 students participated in shop competitions including welding, wood, machine tools, and metal fabrications.
“We have a lot of individual welding contests, and lathe, and milling, and fabrication. We also have today a competition for the general all around welder, so the student who wins that will be able to say that they are the first place general all around welder on the South Coast,” Philley said.
In the machine shop the hum of welding equipment in the hands of young men and women filled the air.
“I’m a stick welder. I like that stick welding is a little harder, and that I have a certain skill being able to do it,” Marshfield student and welding competitor Daniel Morris said.
For the second year in a row Pacific High School out of Langlois won the team mathematics competition at the skills day. The solo mathematics competitions serves as a qualifier for a larger state math competition that takes place in May.
One of the art competitions is a chalk art contest. Contestants created a knee high fog of chalk dust as they scribbled away at their masterpieces.
One of the chalk art teams from Gold Beach had two students named Payton. Payton Tim and Payton Velasquez’s art depicted a woman’s face cut in half to reveal a rose growing inside of her.
“It’s a design we got from a tattoo that we like, so we just tried to recreate the picture the best that we could,” Tim said.
After all the competitions conclude Coquille High School provided all the students with a free lunch.
At the end of the day there is an award ceremony where the winners from each event are announced.
According to Philley a lot of the competitions organization is the responsibility of the teachers.
“Our shop teacher, and our art teacher had to do a lot of prep to prepare for today. There is just a lot of teacher effort all the way around.”