Wiregrass Georgia Technical College students attended the 53rd Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Louisville, KY on June 19-23. More than 6,000 students competed in 100 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.
Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. All competitions are designed, ran and judged with the help of industry, trade associations, labor organizations, and test competencies are set using industry standards. The State of Georgia earned more medals than any other state at the National Conference this year.
Top student winners received gold, silver and bronze medallions. Many also received prizes such as tools of their trade or scholarships to further their career and education. The SkillsUSA Championship is for high-school and college-level students who are members of the 360,000-member SkillsUSA organization.
Wiregrass student Jamie Grady (Valdosta Campus) won a gold medal in Esthetics with her model Marissa Gray. Geremy Brantley and Allen Paulo (Valdosta Campus) won a silver medal in 3-D Visualization and Animation. The CrimeScene Investigation team made of Trevecca Gates, Donya Land and Shannon Marshall (Ben Hill-Irwin Campus) earned bronze. These students received prize packages of high end tools, specific to their trade, valued at $550-$1500.
Wiregrass was also represented in the following competitions: Telecommunication Cabling – Travious Mack (Ben Hill-Irwin), Auto Refinishing – Tristan Stalvey (Valdosta Campus), Collision Repair Technology – Johnathan Wolfe (Valdosta Campus), Computer Programming – Tristan Guice (Valdosta Campus) and Firefighting – Summer Smith (Valdosta Campus).
“Earning gold at SkillsUSA Nationals has been the biggest honor I have ever received,” shared Jamie Grady, “It is very humbling to be considered the best esthetician student in the nation. Earning the gold medal at a National competition will show future employers the extent of my abilities in the beauty and skincare industry and my dedication to my craft, ultimately landing me the job of my dreams. Thankfully, I have had many advisors at Wiregrass as well as my loving family, who have supported me and taught me skills that I will carry with me the rest of my career.”
Wiregrass had eleven students who earned a Skill Point Certificate. This certificate is earned by attaining a “cut score” that is determined by the same industry leaders who defined the competencies for the championships, which indicates excellence for students entering technical fields. The Skill Point Certificates are a tool to recognize outstanding talent beyond those who earn medals at the SkillUSA Championships. Students can use these certificates to document achievement and show potential employers as indicators of proficiency.
“SkillsUSA is a wonderful experience for all involved,” said Kelley Wetherington, Campus Life Coordinator. “We are proud of all of our students for representing Wiregrass Georgia Tech at the national, state and regional levels. We have some pretty amazing students who worked hard and represented us well. Not only did our students work hard, so did our instructors. They went above and beyond to prepare our students for their competitions.”
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. It is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skills service occupations, including health occupations. The SkillsUSA program hosts local, state and national competition for students to showcase their skills learned through hands-on training in the classroom.
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