Thomasville High School students participate in Skills USA competition

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- In a constantly changing world, if you don’t keep up, you’ll be lost. That’s the message Andrew Clement is trying to teach his students at Thomasville High School.

“A generation ago, kids would walk out of this high school and into a job,” Clement said. “Those days are gone.”

But many of the same jobs still exist. It’s just that the kids need to have the skills coming out of high school, which is tough to do.

So Clement teaches them carpentry and other hard skills at Thomasville, starting with the traditional.

“Every carpentry class makes a birdhouse, eh?” he says, to the more difficult picnic tables.

For students like sophomores Najee Little and Axel Castrejon, it’s preparation for a competition called “Skills USA,” where students from all across North Carolina compete in a hundred skills, from carpentry to masonry, to hair dressing and television production.

“This is the best opportunity that my students have to come be exposed to the real world,” Clement said.

After their first shot at the competition – which filled the Greensboro Coliseum’s rather expansive Special Events Center – the boys are beginning to see their future.

“It opened up my eyes to all the opportunities that I have for working in the future like masonry, carpentry,” Castrejon said.

And although the Thomasville students didn’t place in the competition, they know there is still plenty of time.

“I'm young now and I'm learning,” Little said. “So as I get to my adult age, I'll be already qualified and everything.”

See what the boys made and how high the competition is at the big Skills USA in this edition of the Buckley Report.