Wednesday, 22 June 2022 08:29

North Carolina SkillsUSA Winner Reflects on FTCC Education, Prepares for Nationals


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James Song has skills---as he demonstrated at the North Carolina State SkillsUSA competition, where he won first place in post-secondary automotive refinishing technology.

“I was definitely nervous when I walked in, but I’d practiced three or four times each week for a month, plus I was fortunate enough to be prepped by Robbie Lynch, an instructor who has gone to states with previous students,” Song, a student at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC), recalled of his feelings on the date of the state-level competition. “After about 30 minutes, everything fell into place. It felt like I was back in class, practicing. I started feeling really confident then; I knew I could do this.”


Even the couple of curveballs thrown his way didn’t shake Song for long.


“I was unfamiliar with some of the alternate techniques they offered, but instead of allowing myself to feel pressured to do something different, I just did as I was taught, and the product came out really great.”


Although he felt pretty confident, Song found the win to be “unexpected. I didn’t expect to win. I wanted to compete so I could compare myself to others to gauge how advanced I am in the program and see how I compare to the rest of the industry. My friends thought I’d place and were surprised when I took first place. Although my family had no idea what was actually going on, they ‘knew’ I’d win because of my confidence.”


Doug Irish, collision instructor at FTCC, was less surprised by his student’s success.


“James is a very good student," Irish said. "He’s focused and conscientious, and he’s a little more mature than most other students since he has an associate’s degree in another field and a couple years’ college experience behind him already.


“Since James joined the class, he picks up the concepts very quickly and excels at transferring classroom knowledge into skillset development on the floor,” Irish continued. “When he misses a lab, he comes in after hours to practice and hone his skills. FTCC and I were very excited that James won North Carolina State SkillsUSA.”


Prior to enrollment in the collision technology program at FTCC, Song was working on the maintenance side, and as he considered...

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