TV host to visit St. Helens High career, tech program
Students at St. Helens High School will be greeted by a TV personality and public advocate of trades-based education Friday as the grand prize for a video contest the students recently entered.
Kayleen McCabe, host of the DIY Network series "Rescue Renovation" and a licensed contractor, is expected to visit SHHS Friday, Feb. 9, alongside SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence, to tour the school's career and technical education program and visit with students in the renovation and remodeling program who entered the contest.
SkillsUSA is national organization for high school and college students that promotes knowledge about hands-on technical and trades programs. The organization also maintains state chapters and hosts competitions for students to test skills knowledge. St. Helens high-schoolers have a long track record of participating in the program.
Construction and woodshop teacher Joe Mauck said students in the program regularly film their work throughout the school year. The students were planning to create an end-of year video highlighting their work in the vein of a popular TV show about flipping houses.
When Mauck learned about the SkillsUSA contest he encouraged the students to enter footage. Mauck helped out by writing a tune set to Dolly Parton's 1974 hit, "Jolene," but swapping out lyrics to feature Kayleen McCabe's name.
Mauck said his nephew, Milan Mauck, added custom sound effects of saws and hammers to the music to add character.
"You know you almost don't even hear it unless you know it's there," Mauck said of the effects. "Then you can't not hear it."
The students were recognized for their winning entry in January and have been anticipating the school visit since then.
The class, which was initially funded by a $380,000 Career and Technical Revitalization grant in 2016, teaches students how to buy, renovate and resell homes in the community. Instead of learning to build from the ground up, students learn how to repair homes in need of fixes.
During Friday's visit, McCabe and Lawrence will visit CTE classes, tour the renovation and remodeling program worksite, chat with school staff, and speak briefly at an apprenticeship forum geared toward professional tradespeople taking place at the school Friday morning.
"Kayleen is a big supporter for kids learning skills. ... She's a really big advocate of the skills trade. Our thought, primarily, was to show her that schools still have it together," Mauck said, referencing the school's long list of well-developed career and technology programs.
When asked what the students are expecting from Friday's visit, Mauck laughed and said, "You know, I don't think they know what to think," he said, adding that he was excited to see how the visit would turn out.