Kaylee Bowlin and Ethan Sprinkle

Kaylee Bowlin and Ethan Sprinkle placed second place in the Career Pathways/Agriculture category of the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Ky., on June 24-28.

WILKESBORO — Wilkes Community College SkillsUSA students brought home two silver and four bronze medals from the 55th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., on June 24-28.

WCC was represented by 27 student competitors and 17 advisors. The students qualified to participate in the national competition because they won first place gold medals in the April statewide competition in Greensboro.

The opening ceremony, co-sponsored by Snap-On Inc. and Toyota America, was held on Tuesday, June 25. More than 25,000 students, teachers, education leaders and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated.

The highlight event was the annual SkillsUSA Championships held on June 26-27 with 106 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. Among the more than 8,000 student competitors, 9 of the 27 WCC students showcasing their knowledge and skills placed in the top 5 positions, 19 in the top 10 and 25 in the top 20.

Wilkes Community College and Career & College Promise students competed and finished in the following areas:

Action Skills: Kane Exposito – 6th place

Architectural Drafting: Serlina Francisco – 6th Place

Career Pathways-Natural Resources-Agriculture-Food Team: Kaylee Bowlin and Ethan Sprinkle – 2nd place

Career Pathways — Natural Resources-Agriculture-Food Team: Jonathan Smith – 8th Place

CNC Turning Specialist: Dylan Pearson – 21st place

Cyber Security Team: Hattie Cox and Eric Lunsford – 6th place

Diesel Equipment Technology: William Chapman – 7th place

Diesel Equipment Technology: Tyler Whisnant – 34th place

Health Knowledge Bowl: Brittany Johnson, Abbie Kenley, John Douglas Shephard,

Makayla Sloop – 3rd place

Job Skill Demonstration A – Collison Repair: Cole Adams – 10th place

Pin Design: Cortlyn Blythe – 23rd place

Power Equipment: Phillip Benfield – 15th place

Teamworks Team: Christopher Dixon, Aaron Haymore, Grant Mitchell, Justin Shepherd – 12th place

Welding Fabrication Team: Luke Blackburn, Clint Jones, Ryan O’Grady – 4th place

Welding Fabrication Team: Ranson Dyer, Grant Line, Jesus Salazar — 10th place

The Skill Point Certificate, introduced at the 2013 competition, recognizes SkillsUSA members achieving national industry-defined scores at the national competition. The award is the pinnacle achievement in the Work Force Ready System for SkillsUSA students.

To earn the certificate, students participated in authentic assessments demonstrating in real time their knowledge and hands-on abilities. Each of the 27 WCC students received 27 Skill Point certificates.

“A trip to the SkillsUSA national competition is life-changing for students. They are recognized as the best of the very best students in the country – they are champions. This success doesn’t come easily; it requires vigorous hard work and dedication,” said Hardin Kennedy, WCC SkillsUSA advisor and Transportation Technology chairperson.

Beyond the competitions, students enjoy networking opportunities that can help set the path for their post-college careers. In fact, hundreds of the country’s leading employers attend the national conference to scout for new talent to join their companies.

With our college’s consistent presence and continued top ranking at the national conferences, Wilkes Community College is recognized as a national leader in post-secondary and secondary education.

“While not everyone can come home with a gold, silver or bronze medal, the Skill Point Certificate proves that a student has mastered his or her trade and is ready to enter and succeed in industry,” Kennedy said. “This year, North Carolina dominated the competition taking home the most medals in the nation with 78 medalists.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps each student excel. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

In 2005, Kennedy organized and developed the Wilkes Community College SkillsUSA Club. In 2006, Wilkes Community College was represented at the state and national competition in its first year of competing with 12 students from various engineering technology disciplines. Each year, participation in the SkillsUSA Club grows as students and faculty learn the benefits of being involved.

This active club operates with significant support from local individuals, businesses and organizations. The assistance helps to offset the cost of hosting events and traveling to competitions. For more information about supporting SkillsUSA, contact Hardin Kennedy at (336) 838-6219 or hardin.kennedy@wilkescc.edu.

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