Area students put their trade skills to the test Thursday - from creating a logo for a new product to operating a small printing press.
The teens were competing in the advertising and design competition for Skills USA.
The program gives students a chance to show they have what it takes to thrive in a real-world job, and possibly advance in the competition.
Students across the U.S. compete locally every year, and can qualify for state and national events. Johnson High School hosted the Region 2 competition for advertising design and graphic communications Thursday.
More local competitions - including robotics, construction and cosmetology - will be held at North Georgia Technical College Jan. 27.
Johnson High School freshman Grayson Anthony was competing for the first time in the advertising and design category.
For one of the tasks, he created a logo and envelopes for the fabricated company "Go Green Recycle." Anthony said he's practiced with computer design tools for a few years, including Photoshop.
"I didn't know as much about InDesign, so I was just getting my feet wet so I could do better next year," he said.
He added that the event was a little stressful at first.
"It's scary because you don't know what you're up against. But I was more calm after I got started," Grayson said.
Students from Hart County and East Hall high schools met at Johnson.
The seven competing students were each given a computer and written test.
"We also have them do a job interview because if you can't get through that, you won't get a job," Johnson graphic communications teacher Scott Porter said.
Some students, including Johnson senior Regino Zavala, operated a press - the kind used in small print shops.
Zavala said he previously held a summer job in printing for I Card Now in Gainesville.
"It was very hands on and I learned a lot," he said.
Cindy Tumblin, the youth apprenticeship coordinator and Skills USA adviser at Johnson, said it's common for students who compete in Skills USA to have related experience. The program helps students reach out to local industries, for part-time work or apprenticeship programs.
Those who did well in Thursday's competition, will earn the right to move on to the state competition in February. The first-place winner there will move on to nationals in March.
The students will find out the results Jan. 27 at the North Georgia competition.
The advertising and design students competed early at Johnson because the printing equipment wasn't available at North Georgia Technical College, Porter said.
The 2011 SKills USA Region 2 competition will begin at 9 a.m. and end with an awards ceremony at 2 p.m. in the North Georgia auditorium.
Tumblin expects more than 250 contestants from high schools across the Northeast Georgia area.