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Though no national competition awaits the North Marion High junior, his wins were somewhat unexpected.

Students may not be in the classroom, but that doesn't mean they aren't accomplishing some pretty interesting things.

North Marion High junior Jacob Chamberland recently got a pleasant surprise when he was informed that he took home the first-place prize in both his categories at this year's SkillsUSA State Leadership & Technical Skills Virtual Conference.

COURTESY PHOTO SHERIE MORAN - North Marion High School junior Jacob Chamberland managed a pair of wins in the SkillsUSA State Leadership & Technical Skills Virtual Conference.

"Due to the COVID-19 closure, our state board of directors chose to do a "30-day" virtual conference this year, and many of the contests were converted to written tests," said Sherie Moran, CTE teacher and adviser. "Jacob completed both tests over a week, and the results were announced."

Chamberland's victories came in carpentry and safety participation.

"Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of the national event, Jacob will not be traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, this year, but we look forward to great things next year," Moran said.

Moran broke the news to a surprised Chamberland and his mother. "Are you kidding me," were the first words out of his mouth.

According to its website, SkillsUSA is a professional organization that is designed to be run by students, for their own growth and benefit. SkillsUSA members develop into well-rounded people with technical, academic and employability skills that will help them get a job and have a successful career. Through chapter meetings, contests, leadership conferences and activities, students will be building these skills. Each chapter chooses, plans and conducts its own activities.

COURTESY PHOTO SHERIE MORAN - This planter box is one of several high-quality items Jacob Chamberland has created during his three years in woodshop classes at NMHS.

Moran said that after three years in her woodshop classes, Chamberland "has a good handle on what it takes to frame walls and work with wood, as well as being safe while working with hand and power tools."

Though there will be no national competition in his future, Moran said she and Chamberland are looking toward his senior year where "he can finish high school on a very high note, indeed."

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