Three Colgan student winners

Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School students Ray Butler, Aurora Ramos, and Xander Walt, along with their advisor, Tim Mason, competed recently in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student competition, hosted by the International Builders Show (IBS). The competition, is the largest industry show of its kind, hosting more than 1,000 vendors and over 200,000 attendees at this year’s show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Colgan High School’s NAHB student chapter was the only team in Virginia and one of only six high schools to compete in the annual competition comprised of colleges and high schools across the nation, with most schools being trade specialty-focused schools.

“This is impressive on its own, but more so when you consider that Colgan is a performing arts school competing against construction and architectural specialty schools,” said Mason.

For fine and performing arts students, like Ramos, the experience reinforces creative talents.

“It not only allows for students to learn a lot about the construction field, but also amplifies the talents you already have. If you have the gift of words, art, reading - they can be used for telecommunications, architectural drawings, and combing through important documents,” she said.

Although the team did not place in the top three this year, they received many accolades from the judges during their presentations. Colgan has previously placed third (2022) and received the Rookie of the Year Award (2020).

“The competition in Las Vegas helped to reinforce my interest in construction by exposing me to many new things involved in the building industry,” said Butler. “I plan on going into an engineering field, hopefully aerospace, after high school,” he said, adding, “NAHB will help me accomplish this by giving me experience with guidelines, restrictions, blueprints, and more.”

“The competition has a huge learning curve and real-world thinking - both fundamentals of learning and being a functional adult,” said Ramos. “Even if you don't plan on falling in love with the construction industry, NAHB still prepares students for taking their talents a step further."

Previous Colgan competitors are pursuing engineering, military, and real estate careers by attending colleges such as George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The NAHB student competition requires the team to develop a complete set of construction management documents, including the pricing and project management plans based on a real-life home provided by a prominent builder. Shea homes, a high-end home builder located in Nipomo, California, provided this year’s scenario. They released the scenario at the beginning of September and teams submitted written documents in December. The team then provided a presentation and defended their proposal before a panel of judges consisting of home builders across the nation.