SkillsFest 2023 drew nearly 250 students to Ridgewater College’s technical skills competition at the Willmar campus.
Students in grades 10 through 12 from 24 schools competed on February 10 in such traditional activities as auto, ag and welding challenges, to computer and photography skills, and veterinary medicine activities.
New this year were challenges in plumbing, paramedics, and meat cutting.
“We were beyond excited to bring back SkillsFest,” said Taryn Ziesmer, Ridgewater’s event organizer. The winter weather and the global pandemic put a pause on the longtime tradition. The last on-campus SkillsFest was held in 2019, although Welding faculty took their competition on the road when COVID hit.
“2023 went really well!” Ziesmer said. “High school staff and participants had a fun time and enjoyed being back on campus in person. It’s a great opportunity for rewarding, hands-on career skills experiences for our regional youth.”
“It was a huge success,” said Jeff Miller, Ridgewater College dean of instruction.
First-place winners honored at the awards ceremony with Ridgewater College Foundation scholarships included the following in their categories:
Ag Mechanics: Lars Dropik, Noah Beulk, Evan Stark and Josiah Opp, all of Alexandria
Auto Body: Landon McDougal, Moorhead
Auto Mechanics: Matthew Tungseth, Fergus Falls
Computer & Networking Troubleshooting 101: Jacob Newbork and Adam Bristow, Fergus Falls
Electrician: Leo Fussy, Holdinford
Farm Management Problem Solving: Layne Loyson, Jack Lacek, and Lucas Rybinski, Minneota
Livestock Dairy Management: Marissa Hartung, Bethany Gerads, Grace Woitalla, and Madelyn Hartung, Holdingford
Meat Cutting: Axel Uhlenkamp, Ella O’Keefe, Major Pendleton, Heather Panitzke, and Jordan Matson, all of Redwood Valley
Paramedics: Abby Vanderwerf, Johanna Maxwell and Wyatt Anderson, New London-Spicer
- Digital Imaging: Colt Gregoire, Little Falls
- Nature: Paige Zehr, Little Falls
- Student Life: Riley Southern, Lac Qui Parle
Veterinary Technology: Isabella Nelson, Redwood Valley
- Gas Metal Arc: Carson Sampson, New London-Spicer
- Gas Tungsten Arc: Joshua Arens, Wright Technical Center
- Oxy-Acetylene: Kieran Budke, Wright Technical Center
- Shielded Metal Arc: Lexi Karnes, Wright Technical Center