CARROLLTON, GA — Carrollton High School RA-LIN Academy students took top honors at the Northwest Georgia Region Associated General Contractors of Georgia Skills Challenge on Nov. 10.
Romnal DeLeon-Hernandez took the first-place title in the carpentry category. Jocelyn Hernandez won first place for print reading, and Joseph Sales got second place in the masonry category. CHS students were up against 15 other schools and scored the highest amount of points, making them the champions of the competition. Students also showed strongly at the Metro-Atlanta AGC Skills Challenge last month.
Chris Stone, construction instructor and RA-LIN representative for CHS, helped prepare students for the competition.
“I am so proud of our kids for competing and succeeding at a high level at competitions like this,” he said.
The RA-LIN Academy is the only one of its kind in the state which features a unique arrangement between a general contractor and a school system. The program began a few years ago after a conversation between Carrollton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus and Ben Garrett, president of RA-LIN, concerning the need to develop trade skills locally in the future workforce.
“While most students at CHS attend some form of college, there are still students who graduate and enter the workforce right after high school,” Albertus said. “This internship is helping expand the potential of all our graduates. We are grateful to RA-LIN for their partnership in helping make this program a reality.”
The program is a multi-year pathway where students learn and practice trade skills like print reading, carpentry, masonry, steel fabrication, and field engineering principles while also incorporating standards set by the Georgia Department of Education to satisfy Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway requirements.
Elizabeth Sanders, CHS CTAE director, said through the RA-LIN Academy, students are exposed to field site opportunities, working at RA-LIN each day to grow first-hand knowledge about construction situations that cannot efficiently be conducted in a traditional classroom setting.
“I am very thankful for the expertise that Mr. Stone has in such a broad range of skills,” she said.
Sanders also noted that the partnership between RA-LIN and the district is a beneficial one.
“I am so proud of the RA-LIN Academy students for their success at the AGC Challenge,” said Sanders. “As a spectator at the competitions, I can’t help but be proud of the skills our students are obtaining that will help them in life. Our students and school are better because of this program. We are always looking for businesses and industries to partner with for the betterment of our students and community as a whole.”