Some students in Connecticut have the opportunity to show off their skills, along with the tools of their trade, from electronics and robotics to the machine shop.
More than a dozen students from Platt Technical High School in Milford have qualified for a national skills competition, but they first need to raise thousands of dollars.
Ben and Will Bassett have been building and tinkering with their robot for months, perfecting its every move.
"It’s done some incredible things, stuff that when we designed it I was like no way is it going to happen, but sure enough, its doing it,” said Ben Bassett, a senior at Platt.
Come June, the brothers will have to start all over.
After winning a state title last month, they're heading back to Skills USA, a national contest in Kentucky.
"I’m a very mechanical person, so I built the intricate mechanisms, helped designed those and my brother writes a lot of the programming,” Will Bassett said.
For others, like Brian McManus in the machine shop, it’s his first trip to nationals.
"To be able to take hunks of material and turn it into anything you wanted,” McManus said.
He said he'll be able to lean on Loriea Crudup, a classmate who came in seventh in the nation last year.
"It’s really good. I'm able to showcase what I can do, tell everybody I’m able to make these parts, and I’m able to do it very well,” Crudup said.
This year a record number of Platt Tech students, 14, won at the state level, qualifying for nationals, from electronics and robotics to precision machine and auto body.
"I have to paint a panel, mix the paint, then I have to weld and do some dent repair on plastic and metal,” said Josh Paight, a senior at Platt.
While it’s a great honor to compete at nationals, it’s not cheap.
It’s estimated it will cost the kids and their advisers, $20,000 for their flights, hotel, and food.
"To bring a student out there, and for them to share a quad room with three other students in the room, is over $1,000, closer to $1,200 a student,” said Dave Feda, Platt Tech Skills USA adviser.
They're organizing fundraisers, and even setting up a GoFundMe page.
While Platt is a state school, there is no state funding for a trip like this.
But it’s a trip the students say is worth it, one that validates what they're learning as they prepare to enter the workforce.
"It’s a great feeling when you finally learn something and you get to apply it in the real world and solve a problem, using the stuff you've learned in the classroom,” Ben Bassett said.
To check out their GoFundMe, click here.
Anyone looking to send a check to the school can make it out to Platt Tech Skills USA, and send it to Platt Technical High School, Attention: Dave Feda, 600 Orange Ave., Milford, CT 06461.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.