Alden-Conger student does well at college-level state competition

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Riverland Community College instructor Mike Bute stands with Alden-Conger’s Drew Folie in the diesel department at Riverland in Albert Lea. – Shelly Zeller/Alden Advance

Riverland Community College instructor Mike Bute stands with Alden-Conger’s Drew Folie in the diesel department at Riverland in Albert Lea. – Shelly Zeller/Alden Advance

By Shelly Zelle, Alden Advance

ALDEN — An Alden-Conger High School student took part in the SkillsUSA Championships, showcasing career and technical education students who compete in hands-on trades, technical and leadership contests.

Drew Folie, 17, is also a Riverland Community College student and was one of more than 800 students from 25 campuses of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to compete.

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He won honorary mention in the job interview division after having the highest scoring cover letter and resume, as well as one of the best face-to-face interviews. He won first place overall in the high school division in the diesel category.

“This means I get to go to nationals in Kansas City, Mo., in June,” he said.

Riverland students traveled to Bloomington for this year’s state SkillsUSA conference.

“SkillsUSA is a national organization, that is a lot like FFA, just instead of
agriculturally based it is trade skill, nursing, cosmetology, welding, diesel and many more,” he said. “I personally entered in three contests: mechanical dexterity, diesel technology and job interview.”

Folie said mechanical dexterity means the ability to assess a problem and solve it. Diesel is about the diesel trade, such as running an engine through a computer, working on a transmission, work orders, tire assessment and other tasks.

The job interview is just as it sounds, doing a mock job interview all the way from the application to sitting in front of the judges as a person looking for a job.

“From winning these categories, I received tools, a medal and offered scholarships to other schools,” said Folie. He also won a trip to the national competition in June.

Folie chose to be a part of the post-secondary program while at Alden-Conger for the extra education in the field of trade he is planning to enter, diesel technology.

“I also see it as an extra edge for scholarships, job interviews and applying to other colleges. That is what most people are looking for, is that extra drive and effort put forth. The part of the tuition and books being free is an extra little bonus,” he said.

This semester at Riverland, Folie is taking 19 credits, which is just shy of being labeled as full-time student status.

“At minimum, after I graduate high school, I will have a semester left at the college to get my diploma in diesel technology program.”

The extra edge over others is a huge benefit of post-secondary education, Folie said.

“It shows you have the extra drive to succeed in life and employers look at that a lot. And the fee or books and tuition are covered, but I still have my tools I must buy.”

Along with being a student at Alden-Conger and at Riverland Community College, Folie has another edge over most students. He works at Dave Syverson Truck Center in Albert Lea after school, getting on-the-job experience.

Working roughly 38 hours a week, all on top of school, working on the farm and extra circular activities including Supermileage, SkillsUSA, FFA and 4-H, Folie doesn’t regret any of his decisions.

“What I enjoy the most is the hands-on experience,” he said. “You can sit in the classroom all day and be 99 percent book smart but when you get into the shop, the common senses starts to kick in. The ball game changes a little.”