They have skills | Coeur d’Alene Press

North Idaho College students won the top 10 awards in their divisions at the SkillsUSA National Championships June 22-23 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rathdrum’s Neal Huber won third place in the bronze medal in the Auto Refinishing competition.

Bryce Tellinghusen of Spokane Valley took fifth place in the Collision Repair competition.

Caden Smidt, a dual-enrollment NIC student from Kootenai Tech Campus and Coeur d’Alene High School, took ninth place in the automotive refinishing contest.

The NIC students were three of more than 6,500 vocational and technical students from across the United States who qualified and competed in the national championships, according to SkillsUSA.

NIC students have competed in regional and national SkillsUSA competitions for the past 20 years. NIC partners with industry organizations and local employers to host local competitions for regional middle and high school students in preparation for SkillsUSA competitions.

NIC Autobody and Paint Technology associate professor Cal DeHaas said contests help bring out the best in students.

“SkillsUSA Nationals and all the competitions leading up to it give our students a sense of what working in their field is really like,” DeHaas said. “It introduces them to the stress, pressure and rewards of working in the industries they study.”

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