Ft. Madison wins CANCO High School Skills Challenge again

Ft. Madison wins CANCO High School Skills Challenge again The winning team in the 2022 Carl A. Nelson & Company High School Skills Challenge, from Fort Madison High School, was comprised of (L-R) Caden Hutson, Chloe Sokolik, Brennan Ulik, Emmett Kruse and Ben Blanchard. Their teacher is Michael Schinstock, right. CANCO photo

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BURLINGTON, Iowa — Students from the construction trades programs at five southeast Iowa area high schools were able to put what they have been learning in their classrooms to a real-world test Oct. 13, 2022, at Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO), where warehouses were converted to construction labs for the company's annual High School Skills Challenge.

Participating teams from Burlington, Fort Madison, Mediapolis, West Burlington and Winfield-Mt. Union used their carpentry and welding skills to cut and assemble raised steel frame decks with stairs. They had 3 1/2 hours to complete the task, with tools and materials provided by CANCO. 

The Fort Madison team of Caden Hutson (grade 11), Chloe Sokolik (11), Brennan Ulik (12), Emmett Kruse (12) and Ben Blanchard (10) won first place, marking the fifth time in six years of the challenge the school has won the top prize. Each of the winning team members took home a new framing hammer, while a $300 gift card to Menards was presented to instructor Michael Schinstock to support the program.

Second-place was awarded to first-time participants from Winfield-Mt. Union. The four-person team of Preston Prior, Troy Unternahrer, Isaac Wilson and Merrek Klein, all seniors, each received a tool bag, while a gift card of $200 was presented to instructor Trevor Kongable to purchase tools or materials.

CANCO General Superintendent Mike Harris said the annual event is part of the company's broader outreach to high school construction trades programs in the Burlington area, which has the goal of helping to sustain and grow those programs while also identifying possible future employees.

To learn more about employment opportunities with Carl A. Nelson & Company, including internships that are available to 18-year-old high school students, visit our careers page. Visit our Facebook page for additional photos from the event.

Second-place in the 2022 High School Skills Challenge, sponsored by Carl A. Nelson & Company, was the team from Winfield-Mt. Union High School led by instructor Trevor Kongable, left, and including Preston Prior, Troy Unternahrer, Isaac Wilson and Merrek Klein. CANCO photo