Belen High grad places at national SkillsUSA

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Transform a pile of melamine wood into a sturdy and functioning cabinet in eight hours — that was William Krause’s task at the National SkillsUSA Championships for Skilled Workforce last month.

Photo submitted: BHS graduate William Krause came in 19th place at the National SkillsUSA Championships for Skilled Workforce last month. Krause attributes his success to his friends, who helped him remain calm throughout the competition.

The Belen High School graduate faced 44 other competitors in the high school cabinetmaking division on June 27. That day, he worked nonstop reading plans, cutting pieces of wood to the correct sizes, mounting hinges and drawer guides and building a cabinet from scratch.

In the end, the two-time New Mexico SkillsUSA champion walked away as 19th in the nation, carrying a Skill Point Certificate.

His accomplishments illustrate that he’s top notch, said Brian Martinez, BHS’ cabinetmaking teacher. Krause, along with his competitors, were described as being in the top 1 percent of cabinetmaking programs nationally.

“He’s ready for industry. He’s exceptional in layout, measurement, professionally and tool safety, and he’s proficient in everything,” Martinez said.

“We’re very proud of Will and how he handled himself,” he said. “He’s going to grow up to be a successful individual and we’re proud to be a part of that.”

This year, Krause’s second time in competing at the national level, he focused on improving his skills at coping, or fitting one piece of trim into another piece, and calming down his nerves to better his 30th place showing last year.

“I was sick to my stomach because I was so nervous,” said Krause, a four-year cabinetmaking student. “It messed me up.”

The 18 year old knew he was running out of time and rushed to wrap up. He didn’t get a chance to add legs and side trim to the cabinet, but felt confident after noticing he was among the few who came close to finishing.

“I knew I placed higher than last year, because mine was more finished,” he said. “This year, the job was bigger. It had more time-consuming dado’s you had to pay attention to.”

Although he was hoping to rank in the top 10, he was proud of his improvement.

He credits his success to his two friends, Christian Aragon and Jonatan Sepulveda, who kept him at ease going into the event and encouraged him throughout the contest. Aragon and Sepulveda, who also placed at the state competition, attended the 49th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference alongside Krause.

Cabinetmaking taught Krause life skills he plans to use in the future, including working within a group, leading a group and fixing mistakes when they occur.

“It prepares you for what it’s going to be like in the real world,” he said.

In the fall, Krause will attend Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.