Putting their skills in focus


Take your best shot. Now frame it and explain it.

Four Sequim High School students are preparing these and other challenges as Sequim hosts the SkillsUSA Regional Competition in Digital Photography on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Seniors Jesh Anthony, Emily Carel, Jaiden Coulson and Abi Loucks are signed up to take on two students from Hoquiam High School and another from Aberdeen High in a competition that tests a variety of photography skills, from written exams and field tests to in-studio scenarios.

"It's a fun opportunity to expand my knowledge (of photography)," says Loucks, a third-year student in Jim Heintz's photography series.

"Photography for me is a fun hobby — to capture what you see can be pretty and amazing and fun as well," she said.

Anthony, a second-year photography student, says photography expands his general interest in the arts.

"I'm an artistic person," Anthony says, and though he primarily enjoys drawing and painting, he sees correlation between those and the photographic arts. Particularly, he says, in the way the arts allow users to express themselves with few restrictions.

"I enjoy that openness," Anthony says.

Top placers from the regional competition move on to the state competition April 11-13 in Renton and winners there compete at the national SkillsUSA event June 23-29 in Kansas City, Mo.

According to its website, SkillsUSA is a "partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce." Formerly known as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA), SkillsUSA hosts dozens of contests across the nation with themes such as screen printing technology, computer maintenance and robotics to plumbing, firefighting, first aid and cosmetology.

More than 300,000 students and advisors take part in SkillsUSA programs annually, organization sources say.

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