WRCC students win recognition at soil competition


By Paul Cohen

Special to the Reformer

Brattleboro - Students at the Windham Regional Career Center have reason to be proud of their good work and effort.

Recently, four students from Errold Nelson's Agricultural Land Management course scored in the top 10 of participants in the annual Future Farmers of America state soil and land judging competition. This event is held yearly on the campus of Vermont Technical College.

These students led their team to a second place finish at the state level, with a combined score of 752, just a few points from the first place spot. One student, Seth Rhodes, placed first individually in the state, while three other students, Dillen Paquette, Troy Felisko, and Jacob LaMorder, placed fifth, seventh, and eighth respectively.

A lot of preparation work, in a relatively short period of time, helped these students achieve their successes. Errold Nelson's instruction encompassed soil formation, evaluating physical features of the soil at a job site, and determining soil texture, drainage, permeability and slope of the land. He also taught how to evaluate soil to determine land use potential, whether for agricultural, woodland, or house site purposes, and how to overcome site limitations through proper land treatment and management practices.

Errold shared that his students "put in excellent effort in preparing for this, as witnessed by their scores, and that their conduct at the event was exemplary. They represented their class and the Career Center extremely well."

Seth Rhodes, a senior from Brattleboro and the first place state-wide winner, felt that he came into his WRCC course with good prior experience by working on a number of logging jobs with his father. Seth plans to attend college next year, where he intends to major in either mechanical or civil engineering. As the winner of this competition, he has been awarded a scholarship to Vermont Technical College, should he decide to attend.

Career Center courses have helped Seth hone in on his future plans. He's already completed the three automotive courses offered there and is enrolled this semester in Architecture and Civil Engineering in addition to his Agricultural Land Management course. He's signed up for Forestry and Natural Resources next semester.

Dillen Paquette, a junior from Brattleboro and the state's fifth place winner, said that "it was pretty interesting to see how the competition was set up. I like this kind of work and I'm definitely interested in pursuing it as a career. I really like running heavy equipment, like the [Career Center's] excavator and skid steer." Prior Career Center courses that Dillen has taken include Introduction to Automotive Repair, as well as Machine Operation and Maintenance.

Seventh place finisher, Troy Felisko, is a senior from Wilmington, while eighth place recipient, Jacob LaMorder, is a junior from Brattleboro.

The Windham Regional Career Center provides technical and career training for students from the following high schools: Brattleboro, Leland and Gray, Twin Valley, Bellows Falls, and Hinsdale, N.H.

Paul Cohen is a special projects coordinator at Windham Regional Career Center. He can be contacted at pcohen@wsesu.org.


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