7There are moments when it’s hard to see your own potential, but others do. Say a wood shop teacher motivates a student to go outside his comfort zone and enter a professional skills competition. Wouldn’t it be great if the student went to Kentucky to compete at the national level?

Stefan Hale will be competing in the national SkillsUSA Interviewing competition on June 22. This came about when Terry Avery, a Lincoln County High School woodshop teacher, inspired Hale to consider attending a regional event in Reno. Hale agreed, with the intention of focusing on cabinet making.

What Hale didn’t know was Avery had entered him in a second competition – interviewing. Out of respect for SkillsUSA and his teacher, he gave it his best.

Besides, he knew the competition would be over by lunch.

Out of one hundred competitors, his name was included in the top eleven moving on to round two. He thought it was miracle that he made it to the second round. After facing seven more judges for fifteen minutes in the second round, he was confident he did well, but didn’t think he won. 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.

Looking back on his success in this competition, Hale 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?” Hale did, and now he knows. Good luck at nationals, Stefan.