By Jesse Wood
Watauga High School graduate Devin Hollars is on his way to a successful career in the skilled trades.
On Monday evening, the High Country Home Builders Association awarded him a $1,000 scholarship for his first year of college. Hollars will be majoring in construction and engineering at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.
But this isn’t the first time Hollars has made the news. In May, Hollars received congratulations from the Watauga County Board of Education for placing first place in the SkillsUSA carpentry competition at the state level, where he “exemplified tremendous skill and patience in a very high pressure and intense competition [of more than 40 challengers],” WHS construction technology teacher Jason Matthews told the board last month.
(Through winning the state competition, Hollars participated in the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Ky., this past week. The results of the national event are not yet available.)
In recommending Hollars for the High Country Home Builders Associations 2016 scholarship – named in honor of Daniel Everett Scott – Matthews did not hold back praise:
“He has been unquestionably the most able student I’ve had in all of my classes, and his work ethic consistently reflects the level of insightfulness and attention to detail that is unique to Mr. Hollars and that in my opinion is lacking in today’s youth.”
At Monday’s ceremony, Matthews stood up and praised the young man a little bit more for his punctuality and eagerness to engage in the learning process.
“Simply put, Devin Hollars was a true pleasure to have in class,” Matthews said. “They are not making them much like this anymore.”
While furthering his education, Hollars plans to continue his lawn care maintenance business that he’s had since 2010, where he has several accounts including doctor’s offices. He’s also performed minor carpentry, built furniture, worked in the choose-and-cut Christmas tree industry and used his building skills on missionary trips.
In his free time, Hollars also likes to “hunt fish.”
While scholarships are just one way that the High Country Home Builders Association gives back to the community, they are important to ensure that tradesman don’t become a dying breed.
It’s no secret that there is a skills gap among younger folks and the construction trades – both locally and across the nation. Hollars is just the latest – albeit exceptional – example bucking that trend.
Kyle Fishers, who didn’t attend Monday’s meeting, also received a scholarship from the High Country Home Builders Association.
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