Port Angeles High School senior headed to SkillsUSA nationals

Port Angeles High School senior headed to SkillsUSA nationals
Posted on 06/12/2017
Port Angeles High School senior headed to SkillsUSA nationals PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles High School senior is preparing to fly to Kentucky to compete in the SkillsUSA nationals for cabinetmaking the day after she graduates.

Kaytlin Turner was shocked when she won the state Skills USA competition for cabinetmaking in April, which earned her a spot at the national contest.

Now the 18-year-old student, who has taken woodworking classes at Port Angeles High School throughout the past four years, is preparing to compete at the 53rd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., on June 19-23.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I’ve never been anywhere that far.”

She was one of 14 students from Port Angeles High School and the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center who competed at the state competition.

Ryan Moore and Bradley Lightfoot took first and second, respectively, in machining. Moore is attending the national competition, although there is no competition for machining.

Lucas Verstegen earned second in action skills and will compete at nationals because the first-place winner couldn’t make the trip, said Tina Smith-O’Hara, district spokeswoman.

When Turner finished the state competition in April in Yakima, she thought there was a chance she could place.

But after judges announced the third- and second-place winners, she wasn’t expecting to hear her name.

“I was shocked because I didn’t think I was going to get first,” she said. “I thought maybe in the top three.”

Her teacher, Tim Branham, said he wasn’t at all surprised.

“Not with her,” Branham said. “The way she is so detail-oriented, I wasn’t surprised she won.”

Because of her attention to detail, Turner can often see mistakes in her work that nobody else can see, she said, adding she is critical of her own work.

Her attention to detail helped her win in Yakima.
She received perfect scores in layout skills, an oral interview, machine skills, safety and finished product, said her mother, Racheal Turner.

There was a tie in the cabinetmaking competition at state, so judges turned to written tests to decide the winner.

She scored 92 percent on her test. The next highest was 40 percent, Branham said.

“I’m happy she qualified this year because I knew she would do well,” he said.

At the national competition, Turner will be provided the plans for whatever she is building the morning of the competition.

She will then have eight hours to build and will be competing with up to 49 others from across the country.

She’s feeling optimistic about the competition and hopes to score in the top 10.

“I don’t know about getting first, but I’ll do well,” she said.

She has been practicing plans used in previous national competitions to get ready.

The national competition doesn’t reuse old plans, but Branham said it’s good practice that will get her prepared.

She’s expecting the competition to be a bit tougher than at state, she said.

Even after graduation and after the competition, she plans to continue woodworking, Turner said.

She plans to attend Peninsula College for a year before transferring into Seattle Central Community College’s woodworking program.

Turner started woodworking her freshman year on a whim, thinking it might be something she would like.

Now she loves it, she said.

“I didn’t know if I would like it,” she said. “Once I did it, I just loved it and kept doing it all four years.”

Racheal said she is proud of her daughter, not only for her woodworking but for the young adult she has become. 

She said her daughter is humble in her own abilities. 

“We could not be prouder of Kaytlin,” she said. 

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

This article is used with permission by the Peninsula Daily News and can be found online: https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/port-angeles-high-school-senior-headed-to-skillsusa-nationals-after-state-win-in-cabinetmaking/.