Being first in the state is a worthy accomplishment, but for Neosho High School to-be senior Chris Hancock his first place award at the Missouri SkillsUSA Leadership contest was even greater. He is the first Crowder student to receive a first place finish in any of the building trades in the last fourteen years of competition.


Being first in the state is a worthy accomplishment, but for Neosho High School to-be senior Chris Hancock his first place award at the Missouri SkillsUSA Leadership contest was even greater. He is the first Crowder student to receive a first place finish in any of the building trades in the last fourteen years of competition.

He won first place in Carpentry Technical Information. He also ranked fourteenth in "Opening and Closing Ceremonies," and twelfth in "Team Work."

Sometimes, high school students rely on skills learned at home to master a trade like home building. Often a dad, grandfather, an uncle or even a mom is a carpenter. This is not true for Hancock. His dad is a mechanic and his mother is in management.

In fact, Hancock had never even thought much about carpentry and woodwork until he took Wood Shop/Tech at Neosho High School during his sophomore year. He did well under this teacher, Mr. Sandford. He did so well that this past year he took the Building Trades class at Crowder College.
There he blossomed even more. Before his junior year was over, he helped with the documentation required for Crowder students to participate in the Missouri SkillsUSA Leadership contests. He was chosen as the top junior Building Skills student, and volunteered to come in after school to help his Crowder instructor Matt Bond with Skills/USA paper work.

Bond had nothing but praise for Hancock and his work ethic. He is pleased with how rapidly Hancock learned and the effort he put forth to do so.

"I'd take twelve kids like Chris every hour," Bond said.

Hancock also participates in other high school activities. He is in the Neosho High School band and performed with that group at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans last year.

He also takes an agriculture class in high school and is a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). He competed on the FFA forestry team this past year and is on the Neosho High School solar bike team.

To become a state finalist, Hancock had to participate in the "hands-on" portion of carpentry at the Missouri Regional Skills/USA contest held at Crowder College. Then he took a written test at Missouri Southern State University. The results from these two contests made him eligible to participate in the state contest held at Linn State Technical College in Linn, Missouri.

There he won his category by answering 150 questions like: "What rafter setup has hips higher than the eaves?"

  Answer—the butterfly.

Hancock said the questions were primarily along these lines, although mathematics did play a part in some questions.

Even with this success, Hancock is not sure if he will use his building skills as an occupation.

"Maybe I will help people build their own houses," he explained, "but I want to be a teacher."

Whatever he does, Chris Hancock has already proven that with determination, study, and hard work, a young man who knew nothing about the building trade two years ago can win a state carpentry championship at the Missouri Skills/USA Leadership contest.