She would love to see more girls be part of technical classes and go into such a career.
“It’s good to see there are girls around,” Smith said.
There were a few girls at the state competition, but she was the only one---of eight competitors---in her category. At the technical institute, she’s one of six girls in the 40-person program.
At her school, she’s liked that she can help show that girls---women---have just as much an impact on the trades as boys do.
“You have to prove yourself---you’re just as good as a guy,” she said. She added that instructors at the college level often know that girls will outshine their male counterparts.
Westrick said that with the education she’s receiving, she’ll be 20 years old and earning $50,000 a year, and, again, she’ll have skills that she’ll carry with her throughout her life.
Kelley noted, “Work is the same as a competition.”
Smith is proud to take the road she’s chosen through life. She said there’s too much of a push for high school students to go on to a four-year university. She hopes there’s more of a push to get kids into tech classes.
There are a lot of people who are better with their hands than they are with a book, she said, and Kelley agrees with that. She said it just takes a drive to do it well.
It all starts with high school and receiving the encouragement there.
Her interest in such work came from growing up on a farm, which involved a lot of work needing to be done on tractors.
“I realized I’m good with my hands,” she said.
She said her interests in high school were welding and collision repair, although she knew less about collision repair.
“It’s what I knew the least about and what I could learn the most from,” she said.
When she visited the career center her sophomore year, she decided to take the two-year collision repair program.
Smith, the daughter of Andrew and Joyce Smith of Martinton, is currently attending Ohio Technical College in Cleveland. She is in the third module of a 12-month program she started in October. She’s working as a detailer at a dealership as well.
She will be in a program learning more about BMWs. She said that to be part of this program, students have to be at the top of their game.
Her goal is to one day have her own shop.