Brandon Burnworth, a 2012 Huntington North High School graduate, is a national champion.
Burnworth earned a gold award - the top spot in his category - in the SkillsUSA Championships.
The competition, held June 23-27, is a showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation.
Burnworth says the experience was exciting and challenging at the same time.
"It was cool to get to meet people from all over the country," he says. "The competition itself was challenging, especially the CNC (computer numerical control) program solution and milling sections."
Contestants competed in Level I and II manual machining skills and knowledge areas including operation of manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses and surface grinders.
In addition to the hands-on portion of the competition, related knowledge and skill in the areas of engineering drawing interpretation, GD&T (gemoetric dimensioning and tolerancing), technical math, machining practices, use of precision hand tools and ability to communicate verbally using proper industry terminology are also evaluated.
Burnworth credits his performance to the education he received while enrolled in Huntington North's vocational program.
"The trade classes taught me everything I know," he says. "I would never have been able to do any of this if it weren't for all the stuff I learned here."
Burnworth was enrolled in Huntington North's vocational program for two years prior to graduation.
Included with his gold award, he received prizes of tools and a $2,000 scholarship.
The achievement puts him in line for a very rare opportunity as well.
"He will mostly likely get an invite to try out for the 2013 International WorldSkills Competition, which will be held in Germany," says Mick Jarrett, precision machining instructor at Huntington North. "You don't earn a gold award and not get an invite."
After approximately three months of training with other hopefuls, Burnworth will try out for the final team.
In the meantime, Burnworth says he will be focusing on school.
"I'm going to Vincennes University in the fall to study tool and die machining," he notes. "I'm happy I got a chance to compete and that I did well."