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Meghan Park HS Woodworking Champ 2016

Washington Park Panther Meghan Barton is the 2016 gold medal winner from the SkillsUSA woodworking competition, but it almost didn’t happen … again.

Barton has competed in the state competition since she was a freshman, missing out on the top prize by just fractions of a point each of her first three years, Racine Unified is reporting.

As a senior though, she knew she’d have to bring more to the table than she ever had before, so it was beyond disappointing for her to put in long hours only to come up empty one more time. Or, so she thought.

Park Tech Ed Teacher Thom Stapleman, though, noticed that Barton’s category had been ignored when the awards were announced.

“I went to the information table a bit frustrated with many other teachers and found out that they simply misplaced the results from the competition and that’s why it was excluded,” he told the district.

Her award was announced, but it was too late. Barton – and most other people, too – had left the room, so Stapleman went to find her so he could hang her well-deserved medal around her neck.

“I hugged her and put her gold medal around her neck. It’s moments like these that erase all the hardship and trials in teaching. Selfishly speaking, it was a blessing that they misplaced the results because I got to be the one to award Meghan the gold medal,” he said.