By Greg Hicks
Lincoln County Record
There are times in life, where you have a hard time seeing your own potential; but others do. You challenge yourself immediately and ask, “Can I do this?”. Often, because you have never tried, the answer is no; but you do it anyways. The doubt and lack of confidence you started those endeavors with, can lead you to say, “If it wasn’t for…I wouldn’t be where I am today”. Say an english professor urges a student to write for their college paper based on essays they have written or wood shop teacher motivates a student to go outside their comfort zone and enter a professional skills competition. In both cases, those teachers believed in them when they did not. Wouldn’t it be great if one of them went to Kentucky to compete on behalf of Nevada at the national level and the other wrote about it?
Stefen Hale will be competing in the National SkillsUSA Interviewing competition on June 22. Terry Avery, a LCHS wood shop teacher, inspired Stefen to consider attending a SkillsUSA event in Reno. Stefen agreed, with the intention of focusing on cabinet making. During these events, multiple competitions are held. They are primarily based in two areas: Professional and Trade. Both general categories boast a number of specific categorial competitions. Every student participating, can enter two competitions during the four day event. Based on what you have read so far, you know three things are fact; there was an interviewing competition, Stefen competed in it, and did very well.
However, what makes this story very unique is the unknown. Stefen didn’t know Avery entered him in competition. He knew the competition would be over by lunch. He didn’t know where he felt like eating. He knew round one was starting, and out of respect for SkillsUSA and Avery, he gave it his best. He didn’t know that, after his three or four minute interview with one judge, that, out of approximately one hundred competitors, his name would be included in the top eleven moving on to round two. He knew it was miracle that he got into the second round. He didn’t know that it was, in fact, not a miracle he got to that round. After facing seven judges for fifteen minutes in the second round, he was confident he did well, but didn’t win. He didn’t know, until the awards ceremony, that he placed first and he would be the only Nevada representative at the national competition in Kentucky on June 22. Looking back on his success in this competition, Stefen said, “When the judges told me I represented Nevada very well, it really set in that I could do this. I urge kids to explore the unknown and test your potential. How can you really know you can’t do something until you try?” Stefen did and now he knows.