PARIS — Oxford Hills Technical High School showed its stuff Tuesday as students demonstrated their skills and knowledge in a wide range of studies, including welding, digital media, building design and chain saw operation during the fourth annual Tech Challenge.

“We started it four years ago as a showcase event,” OHTS Director Shawn Lambert said. “I used that term as a way for us to open the doors and get parents and community members to come in.”

The effect was successful.

“It was a bit of a sell,” Lambert said of the event. “Now it has its own legs.” 

Hundreds of family members, friends and curious community members turned out for the four-hour event, allowing them to view the competitions and demonstrations held throughout the school and to speak to the students about their experiences.

The school, which serves 500 students from the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and Buckfield High School, offers 19 technical programs with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, as well as industry-standard instruction for the students.


“The students are very competitive,” said Lambert, who initially designed the program as the students’ midterm exam. “It’s my favorite night of the year.” 

Lambert said because students’ schedules are often tight with outside jobs and other responsibilities, he decided to not make the Tech Challenge a requirement. Instead, educators developed challenges in which any student may participate.

Fred Steeves, auto-collision repair instructor at Oxford Hills Technical High School, said he designed a welding challenge that would allow first-, second- and third-year students to participate in seven welding competitions against each other.

“They can all be involved because welding is a fundamental skill,” Steeves said of the skill students practice for 75 hours during their coursework.

The intense program not only molds certification-ready students but also provides welding training that students can use in other occupations.

From classroom to classroom, the students’ knowledge was exhibited.


“We made clouds,” Advanced Communications student Cody Colley said as he set up a camera shot for a one-minute film he and other students were producing.

The computer-generated, colored clouds, which were inserted into the final edit, symbolized not only the actors’ moods but also a metaphor for the new technology term that provides centralized data storage and online access to computer services and resources, he explained.

At the DECA showcase, marketing students were busy putting together a window display using lights, streamers and some of the merchandise from the school store.

Forestry students not only demonstrated their chain saw skills but showed how to troubleshoot chain saw problems, assemble the tool for speed and accuracy and demonstrate their knowledge of safety.

Culinary Arts students prepared an entree comprised of chicken, a starch and a vegetable.

Early education students wrote and illustrated story books and read them to children.

Other students detailed cars, demonstrated their public speaking skills, shot and edited digital pictures and even measured and recorded vital signs.

“This is a way for them to shine,” Lambert said.

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