High school students from Allen, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes took part in the District 9 FFA competition Thursday at the ABC Pelican Southwest Training Center.

The students competed in the welding, small engines and electrical categories.

Blaise Theard, ABC workforce development specialist, said the partnership with FFA was a “perfect fit” for the training center, which oversees career education courses in many of the rural high schools.

David Helveston, president and CEO of the Pelican Chapter of the Associated Builder and Contractors, spoke of the talent showcased during the competition.

“When you see the skills and techniques that these students bring to the competition, you’ll understand why the future of the construction industry is bright,” he said.

Gabriel Courville, a Kinder High School junior, competed in the electrical category. With plans to become an electrical engineer, Courville said the FFA’s opportunities have shown him that he was “meant to do electrical.”

Courville said his skills have improved since he began competing three years ago. An unexpected curve ball during last year’s competition motivated him to succeed this year.

“I watched a lot of videos,” he said. “I taught myself and took it upon myself to learn it.”

Aaron Rasberry, Jennings High School teacher, said many students, like Courville, treat FFA like “their sport.”

“They stay after school working on it and getting better,” he said.

FFA is no longer limited to agriculture careers, he said. The national program now has a more all-encompassing career education focus.

“Many of the skills they’re competing in today, they’re going to be competing in the job market for as well in the future,” Rasberry said.

The winners will compete at the Area 3 competition March 14 at the ABC Pelican Southwest Training Center.

More from this section

  • Updated

From his office above the north end zone at Cowboy Stadium Frank Wilson gets a daily update of the rebuilding taking place below.There are workers cleaning up debris, fixing broken light polls, laying down new turf and painting. Constant movement and change.Wilson can also see what still nee…

  • Updated

State Rep. Brett Geymann said he will keep a close watch on how Louisiana spends any federal aid related to COVID-19. He told the Republican Women of Southwest Louisiana Thursday that spending one-time money on recurring expenses leaves the state vulnerable for a financial shortfall.

  • Updated

Several blood drives are scheduled throughout Lake Charles next week in an attempt to replenish the blood supply disrupted by the recent severe winter weather, officials said.