Carpentry Student Shines at SkillsUSA Competition

When Robert Heinzinger first considered attending the BOCES Construction/Plumbing Program at the Center for Career Services, he never could have imagined he would win a silver medal in basic carpentry at the SkillsUSA competition in upstate New York two years later.

The SkillsUSA competition that Robert competed in was just one of many held last month to test students’ skills in a variety of trades.

Robert’s mother, Theresa Heinzinger-Lunde, said he initially considered attending BOCES so he could fulfill his high school math requirements. Robert looked at the educational choices available to him at the Center and gravitated towards carpentry, which is taught by Richie Thomas.

“Out of all the options available to him, the one he swayed to the most was carpentry and plumbing,” she recalled. Both she and her husband, owners of Lunde’s Deli in Tuckahoe, are “very hands-on” and do many construction-related projects themselves. She said they were thrilled that he chose that particular BOCES program.

In Mr. Thomas’ carpentry classroom, Robert, a senior at Eastchester High School, has been quick to learn. “He’s very, very bright,” said Mr. Thomas. “You tell him how to do something the first time and he gets it done.”

During the daylong competition, Robert was required to make a dog house from a blueprint. Over a period of several hours, Mr. Thomas said he measured and cut the wood, sanded it and then put it together to create the house, complete with a shingled roof. “He did a great job,” said Mr. Thomas, who watched Robert as he diligently worked through the project.

Mrs. Heinzinger-Lunde is grateful for the experience that BOCES provided her son.

“In life, everything we learn is a stepping stone, like stones to building a strong foundation,” she said. “Robert’s journey through life will be very diversified with lots of different experiences,“ she added.

 Mrs. Heinzinger-Lunde said that Robert always strives for perfection and is very humble. “Even though he won a silver medal, he actually says he should have done better.” While others want Robert to be excited about his win, she added, “That’s not Robbie.”

The family is thrilled, however, by his success.

“To place second above all of the other students who were competing, I can’t say enough about how incredible his win was.”