H-F students win medals in SkillsUSA competition; one advances to nationals

Congratulations to Homewood-Flossmoor High students, from left, Jackson Grage, Nestor Gomez, Charley Dieringer and
Aydenn Harris who won awards at the Skills USA competition. They were accompanied by H-F teacher Bill Merchantz.
(Provided photo)

Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s Charley Dieringer will be going to Atlanta June 24-28 representing Illinois in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

He was one of four H-F students who competed in the Illinois section of the conference April 25, 26 and 27 in Peoria.

Dieringer, a sophomore, advanced to nationals after taking the gold medal in CNC 3-Axis Milling Programmer competition. At the start of the state competition, Dieringer placed first in state qualifiers “and backed up his performance by winning the competition outright,” said Bill Merchantz, a teacher in the Careers and Technical Education Department at H-F.

Aydenn Harris, a junior, also competed in the CNC 3-Axis competition, and took third place.

The wins by Dieringer and Harris were the first medals H-F students have ever won in the competition, Merchantz said.

A standard CNC 3-Axis milling machine is used for manufacturing various automotive parts, such as engine components and gearboxes.

Senior Nestor Gomez, junior Jackson Grage and sophomore Dieringer represented H-F as a team for the Automated Manufacturing Technology competition. The team worked for four hours during the competition and finished in second place, winning silver medals.

The three had to present a finished product they produced in the four-hour timeline using specialty equipment. They simulated a miniature factory with one student designated the CAD (computer assisted design) designer, another was a programmer for the CAM (computer aided manufacturing) tool pathway program, and the third student set up the CNC (computerized numerical control) equipment and cut out the parts. 

It’s the second time the three H-F students have competed as a team. In 2023, they won first place in the same competition.

More than 5,000 students from across Illinois participated in the SkillsUSA competition showcasing career and technical specialties, including health, trade, industrial and technical fields. Judges select the fields for competition, determine the format of the contests and establish the standards for judging each competition.

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