Grant students earn honors at national competition

July 17th, 2010    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Community

Grant Career Center SkillsUSA members recently returned from Kansas City, Mo. where they competed at the 46th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference and SkillsUSA Championships.

The competition was held at H. Roe Bartle Hall and Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, June 21-25.

Five students earned the privilege of representing Grant Career Center at the championship by winning Gold Medals at the state level in the spring and traveled to Kansas City full of hopes and dreams of winning shiny medals.

Grant Career Center SkillsUSA National Champions are, from left, Cory King, Courtney Pringle, Tyler Hess, Katie Kilgore, and Jerod Weber.
Katie Kilgore, a junior allied health science student from Bethel-Tate, competed in the Health Occupations Professional Portfolio competition and brought back a Silver Medal for her efforts at the national level.

The Health Occupation Professional Portfolio recognizes students for their successful development of a professional portfolio. The competition evaluates the ability of the student to present themselves to a perspective employer. The competition consists of two parts; a portfolio notebook showcasing their achievements and a live presentation by the student.

"The National Competition in Kansas City was a fantastic experience with many life-changing, unforgettable moments," Kilgore said. "I had a blast and hope to earn the right to go again and compete next year."

A team of college tech prep students also had the opportunity to compete in the Tech Prep Showcase at the National Level. The showcase recognizes outstanding college tech prep students for their ability to present, through the design and construction of a display, the application of research skills and education brought about through their college tech prep career training program.

The tech prep industrial and engineering technology team consisting of Tyler Hess and Jerod Weber, Bethel-Tate; and Cory King, New Richmond; presented a project titled "Infrared Technology in the Classroom."

Their Showcase demonstrated how infrared technology could be used to enhance classroom learning at a fraction of the cost of commercial applications. Students competed against other teams from across the United States as well as a rigid set of standards set by the National Association.

For their efforts, the team was awarded a Bronze Medal for their outstanding research project.

"The project we completed in Kansas City sharpened work and life skills that will guide us through college and into our careers," team member Weber said. "If I could create a recipe for success at the national competition, I would say it was three cups of hard work, two and a half cups of crazy fun, one cup of relaxation, all topped off with five best friends and four of the best instructors!"

Rounding out the group traveling to Kansas City was college tech prep allied health science senior Courtney Pringle, from Williamsburg, who competed in the extemporaneous speech contest.

Courtney was thrilled to make call backs placing her in the top ten in the nation and finished with a sixth place finish out of 41 contestants.

This year, as part of the work force ready system, SkillsUSA awarded Skill Point Certificates in all 96 contest areas to recognize the outstanding talent of contestants in addition to those who earn gold, silver and bronze medallions in the SkillsUSA Championships.

The same industry leaders who defined the competencies for the championships determined a "cut score" that indicates excellence for students entering technical fields. Most cut scores range between 70 and 80 percent.

Each certificate lists the competency areas tested in the contest and carries the logos of organizations and companies that planned and managed this year's competitions. All five students were rewarded for their outstanding skills and knowledge with a Skill Point Certificate to document their achievement and to show potential employers an indicator of their proficiency.

The trip was a reward for work well done throughout the year, and the students learned some very valuable skills. The students also had the chance to see the best work of students and businesses from all across the nation as well as hear presentations from some of America's great business leaders.

The Skills USA Championship is considered the largest single day of corporate volunteerism in America and is valued at $35 million in industry support of donated time, equipment, cash and materials.

All contests are run by and judged by industry representatives using industry standards for employment. More than 1,500 industry judges participated in this year's event.

All winners receive medallions and many of the trade contest winners receive tools of their trade, some received scholarships to further their careers and education or both. The SkillsUSA Championship had more than 5,600 students from every state and three territories competing in 96 contests in technical, skilled, and service occupations this year.

The contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry-level performance in each occupational field.

Safety practices and procedures is an area of great concern to labor and management alike. Skills and knowledge are judged and graded and constitute a portion of the contestant's score.

The students were accompanied on their trip to Kansas City by SkillsUSA advisors Myrna Little, Doug Ayers and Earl Bradley, and Public Relations Director, Pam McKinney.
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