MCC students go for the gold at National Skills Olympics
BUILDING A HOUSE Aaron Sibley, 21, a student at Meridian Community College, lifts an air duct to the rafters of a house that MCC students are constructing for an annual class project. Sibley will use his construction skills as he competes this summer in the National Skills Olympics in Kansas City, Mo. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
March 28, 2002
Two Meridian Community College students studying construction hope that winning a statewide contest this month will help them snag a similar award at a national competition this summer.
Until then, Aaron Sibley of Newton and Chad Thompson of Bailey are using many of those same skills to build a house an annual project for students in MCC's Industrial Division.
Sibley and Thompson both brought gold medals home from the National Skills Olympics state competition in Biloxi earlier this month. The contest is sponsored by Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.
The two will now represent Mississippi in the program's national competition in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.
Thompson, 19, will compete in sheet metal skills on the national level. The competition will include written tests and a construction assignment. In the state contest, Thompson had to build part of a duct system that was judged on the quality of the workmanship.
Thompson began taking classes at MCC to gain knowledge that would help customers at his father's sheet metal and refrigeration supplies business. He hopes to eventually design duct systems for houses and commercial buildings.
Thompson said he was confident he would do well in the state contest and is looking forward to the national competition. MCC has had six previous gold-medal winners in sheet metal competition at the National Skills Olympics.
Sibley, 21, earned his certificate in electrical technology at East Central Community College. He is taking additional classes at MCC to broaden his knowledge in industrial maintenance.
In the state Skills Olympics, Sibley had to do pipe fitting for plumbing, wire an electrical outlet and check circuit breakers.
Earlier this week, both Sibley and Thompson were hard at work on the MCC house being built at 3219 52nd St. Once completed, the house will be placed on the real estate market.
The MCC homes are usually between 1,300 and 1,500 square feet and typically sell for between $65,000 and $100,000. BankPlus provides MCC with construction loans and then donates the interest earned back to the school through scholarships.
Money from the sale of the homes cover the cost of materials and supplies and are used to buy equipment, tools and provide more scholarships for the students.
This year's MCC student-built home is the first to be designed by an MCC student Jeremy Bunyard, who is in the community college's drafting and design technology program.
Students in the Construction Trades Program do carpentry and cabinet work on the homes. Students in the Industrial Maintenance Program handle the electrical, plumbing, sheet metal, air conditioning and welding responsibilities. Electronics students install cable and telephone and security systems. Horticultural students do the landscaping for the home.