David Rivella, Jr., 18, a recent graduate from Bucks County Technical High School (BCTHS), has become the first Morrisville Borough student to compete in the district, state and national SkillsUSA competitions.
SkillsUSA is a national technical organization that serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. Every year, it hosts competitions between students selected from their technical schools to compete in their chosen fields.
“David’s 12th grade shop teacher selected him to compete in the district competition based on the great knowledge and skills he demonstrated in his field of industrial motor control,” says Shannon M. Seratch, BCTHS Special Education Teacher and Co-Advisor of SkillsUSA.
“This competition was a culmination of what David learned at school,” adds his proud mother, Janet Rivella.
David initially enrolled at BCTHS in ninth grade planning to pursue a career as an electrician, just like his father. Studying industrial motor control is one aspect of what is taught in the electrical program.
Nine students from BCTHS were selected for this district competition, but David was the only one from Morrisville Borough. The district competition took place the end of January in Limerick, PA.
“We were judged on academics and performance,” explains David.
Everyone in the motor control division was asked to complete a 25-question test and then wire a three-phase electric motor. The competition took approximately 2½ hours.
David came in first place, winning the gold award. As a result, he qualified to represent his district in industrial motor control in the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania State Competition held this past April in Hershey, PA.
According to David, the state competition was more challenging. This time, he had to complete a 50-question written test and then wire a standard and forward/reversing motor. This was a six-hour competition, but David once again rose to the occasion, winning first place.
By winning the state competition, David qualified to represent Pennsylvania in his field during the National SkillsUSA competition. It was held in June in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ironically, in 11th grade David began second-guessing his decision to become an electrician.
“He realized he was destined for higher education,” says his mother. “He received a superior education in science and math at his school and excelled in both. As a result, he decided he wanted to major in physics.”
He was accepted into Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey where he will major in this field beginning this fall. Still dedicated to his high school, David missed his recent college orientation to attend the National SkillsUSA Competition.
“This competition was the most rigorous of the three,” says David.
It consisted of completing 150 written questions and being interviewed by a judge as if he were interviewing for an electrical job. The most intense part of the competition was the hands-on portion when he was given a simulated hydraulic punch. He was instructed to wire it to start the motor.
The national competition took place over the course of two, eight-hour days. David came in sixth place.
“This score means David rated sixth in the entire country in the industrial motor control field,” says Shannon. “His rank demonstrates that he would be very successful getting a full-time job in this field, or even using his skills to get a part-time job during college to supplement his tuition.”
David graduated in June second in his class from BCTHS with a grade point average of 4.420. He was honored in his field by being awarded “best of his class” by his technical instructor.
On July 16th, Nancy Sherlock, President of the Morrisville Borough Council, honored David during the Borough’s monthly meeting for being the first student ever to represent Morrisville Borough in the SkillsUSA National Competition.
This recognition from his hometown is something David is sure to remember for a very long time.
PHOTO CAP: David Rivella, Jr.