Walker Valley High School graduate Corey Kraft recently took third place in Computer Aided Drawing 3D engineering at the Technology Student Association national competition in Nashville.
Kraft, who graduated in May, qualified for the event after competing at the state level and placing third. Kraft said usually only the top two participants in the category go on to the national level. However, when the top winner in his category was unable to attend, a spot opened up.
“I’m really blessed I feel like it’s a really big opportunity,” Kraft said.
Kraft had come to the competition wanting to make the top 10, yet during the competition that he thought there was no way he would place.
“I was shocked,” Kraft said. “I’m a pretty nit-picky person in my own work, and when I was surprised by how challenging the part was at nationals I thought,’ Oh my goodness, I’m not going to get anywhere near placing.’”
Out of 34 participants only four completed the 15 part assignment in the four hours allotted, according to Jennifer Poole, who teaches computer aided drawing at Walker Valley.
“At the state level the competition is not as intense as the national level,” Poole said. “He got a really wide eye opener when he went to nationals.”
“State was one part. Nationals was 15 parts that you had to make and put together in the computer program,” Kraft said.
The designed pieces must also be able to move in the program and work.
This was the first year that Kraft competed at the national level. It was also his first time competing in the 3D engineering category. The graduate had joined the school’s TSA chapter two years ago and has enjoyed all the CAD classes.
“I could retire and be happy because I accomplished one goal I had an engineering student place nationally,” Poole said.
Kraft first decided to pursue CAD knowledge when Poole made a presentation about the courses in his freshman honors math class.
“She was showing of some of the work the students had done and I (already) knew I wanted to go into engineering,” Kraft said. “As soon as I started taking the classes, I loved it.”
Kraft said he has also taken computer aided manufacturing classes with WVHS teacher Allen Bivens.
Poole said even though the school does not have a large TSA club. It has consistently sent students to the state competition. This was the first time that Kraft competed. This was also his first time competing
In addition to contestants from the United States, Germany and Turkey were also represented.
Kraft will be attending the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in the fall, studying engineering. While attending school, he will also be working in a TVA student CAD program. Kraft is also certified as an apprentice drafter through the American Drafting and Design Association. Walker Valley’s program is a certified program with ADDA. Kraft said he would encourage students who are taking the CAD or CAM classes to take the classes seriously.
At state he received a free copy of the Solid Works software that the competition and his classes uses.