CALUMET - Simply finishing an industrial technology project after a semester or year is fulfilling for high school students, but several Calumet High School students were recognized for the excellence of those projects earlier in the month.
Twenty-five CHS students headed downstate May 10 through 12 to take part in the 84th annual Michigan Industrial Technology Education Society State Convention and Student Project Fair at the Ryder Center on the Saginaw Valley State University campus. The group came home with seven top-five finishes, including four first-place honors.
"I'm pleasantly surprised every year because the competition is always difficult," said instructor and MITES Regional Administrative Officer Bill Green. "We did really well. I'm really proud of the kids."
The students work on the projects for either a semester or full year in class, but some students put in even more effort, according to Green.
"They work hard during the day, and if they need to they'll make arrangements to come in in the evening," Green said. "That's the beauty of it; it shows the commitment of the students to do something and to do it well."
Thousands of students end up heading to the competition, coming from 19 regions strewn throughout the state. The students must first qualify through regionals, however, so the competition is fierce.
The first-place honors for Calumet went to Rachel Darnell for knife block with kitchen utensils, Nick Helminen for combination lock, Matthew Riutta for turned lamp and senior metals group project for a pig barrel barbecue. Also picking up top-five awards were Helminen again for come along, Ben Storm for garden bench and Ryan Wetelainen for canoe paddle.
Green will be retiring this year, but Baraga/L'Anse industrial arts teacher Robert Bohlsen will be taking his place.
MITES is a nonprofit organization with more than 600 members comprised of teachers, retired teachers and administrators. The group works to support both teachers and students in the areas of industrial and career and technical education. For more information on MITES or for competition results, visit mites.cc.