Smithville High School Committed to Excellence

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu

Construction Trades on the Rise at Smithville High School

The Building Trades Program at Smithville High School started in the early 1960’s under the direction of Charlie Mikes. During that time the Building Trade classes were held in the building which is known today as the Annex, located at Smithville Junior High. Under Mr. Mikes, the students did remodels and built a home addition for Mr. & Mrs. Gene Sampson.

Otto Rue took over the program and constructed the administration building located on the corner of Bishop and 8th St. which is now the elementary nurses station. Mr. Rue’s classes also constructed three houses which are located in the triangle block behind the main campus. These homes were sold to the public and proceeds went towards the organizations activity fund to support program growth.

Bobby Hennessy took over after Mr. Rue's retirement. He not only built the “Good Sense” home in partnership with the LCRA, his classes also constructed a classroom building for the Elementary School. His program was the first to become active in the competitive side of VICA, now Skills USA, winning many recognitions at multiple levels of competition.

Mike McDonald became the 4th person to assume the role of the instructor for the program. Mr. McDonald continued to develop the program into a very successful group by building projects such as custom furniture & cabinets and showcasing his students work in the competitive arena of Skills USA.

In 1999, Royce Gregory was hired. Mr. Gregory put a major emphasis on the development of the Program, competing with great success in many categories in the Skills USA Competition. The program was dropped after the 2007 school year.

In today’s program, which began in 2015, students are taught all aspects and trades of the construction industry including carpentry, plumbing, residential wiring, and masonry. Ryan Moerbe is the newest instructor for the program.

Doug’s Plumbing and A & S Electrical Services have volunteered to come in and do labs with the students in order to help train them in these trades. "Unlike in the past where students built projects and took those to competitions, we are now taking a different approach to Skills USA." says Mr. Moerbe.

The purpose of the program is to teach students a trade skill so that they have the opportunity to step right onto a jobsite and make a good living with specialized skills and certifications, right out of high school. "Currently we have 12 members in Skills USA who are being trained to compete in several trades (carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing). At competitions, students are able to compete as individuals or as a team against schools from all over the state. As of right now, there are very few schools our size competing in Skills USA, which means the majority of the students we are competing against come from 5A and 6A schools. This year students from the Advanced Technology classes were chosen to compete since those were the students that completed training from the above listed contractors. Next year, we are looking to expand the program and get more students involved from the lower level classes." Mr. Moerbe stated.

Teddrick Anderson, a junior at Smithville High School, competed this year in the plumbing competition for the first time. “I really enjoyed learning a specific trade throughout the year and using the knowledge I learned to complete against other students. Also I enjoyed meeting new people with similar goals and interests at the competitions.”
Published Print