HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State Community College has produced a new batch of SkillsUSA award winners.
Nine students recently earned gold medals at the state competition in Birmingham, and Wallace State once again earn the Highest Participation Award.
“SkillsUSA gives our students a platform to show their skills and at Wallace State we have skills. We want to be the biggest and the best in the state, and we have a lot of momentum right now,” said Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State’s Dean of Applied Technologies. “I’m proud of all of our competitors.”
A year after finishing with a record 15 first-place winners, Wallace State had another strong showing in a variety of fields.
Students finishing first and earning a gold medal at the state skills competition were Jake Smith (Electronics), Noah Smith (CNC Turning Specialist), William Andrews (CNC Technician), Joseph Cobb (Diesel Equipment Technology), Danny Currie, Ashley Chambers and Kristy McKerely in Crime Scene Investigation and Steven Ballard and Landon Warnock in Robotics and Automation Technology.
“I think it’s excellent we are a part of a school that wants to put itself on the map in so many ways. Wallace State cares a lot about its students, and the teachers put in so much effort to push you to reach your goals,” said Cobb, who won a gold for the Diesel Technology program, the second year in a row the department has produced a first-place winner. “It’s very exciting to know you competed against 30+ students and found a way to come out on top.”
Wallace State’s Crime Scene Investigation team won its third straight gold medal at the state event. This year’s team is made up of event newcomers Currie, Chambers and McKerely.
The Crime Scene Investigation teams have won three gold medals in all three years of competition and finished with a national silver medal last year.
As the Crime Scene Investigation team continues to thrive at the event, Wallace State’s Academy of Culinary Arts program competed in its inaugural SkillsUSA. Culinary student Diane Woods finished second in the state event and Kacy Martin third.
“It was very exciting for our program. There were a lot of unknowns, so I think that will prepare us even more for next year. We practiced a lot after classes to prepare for SkillsUSA, and I think we should be proud of how we finished in our first year,” said Woods, who added the Academy of Culinary Arts students were required to fabricate a chicken as their main project.
Wallace State had 27 students finish third or better in their respective SkillsUSA competition, including the first-place winners. Wallace State students also earning medals were Victoria Graham, 2nd in Program Cover; Trent Key, 2nd in Electronics; Tristan Warren, 2nd in CNC Milling; Diane Woods, 2nd in Culinary Arts; Dylan Summerford, 2nd in Related Technical Math; Austin Rogers, 2nd in Collision Repair; Bryant Hernandez, 2nd in Automotive Refinishing; Elizabeth Smith, 2nd in Technical Drafting; Brittany Noe, 2nd in Architectural Drafting; Micah Suits, Alberto Chavez and Elijah Parker, each earning 2nd in Automated Manufacturing Technology; Randy Culwell and Billy Johnson each earning 2nd in Robotics and Automation Technology; Kaci Martin, 3rd in Culinary Arts; Austin Wakefield, 3rd in Job Skill Demonstration; Austin McWright in Diesel Equipment Technology and Emanuel Reynoso in Technical Drafting.
Maci Key, a Machine Tool Technology student, has made history for Wallace State through the SkillsUSA program, serving in an officer role as a state college president and delegate.
Key, who first came to Wallace State as a dual enrollment student from Hayden, is hoping to be elected as a national student officer and delegate next month.
“It’s been very exciting and very challenging at times because you have to dedicate yourself to the entire process. At the state competition, the officers were responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies, the delegate session and the awards ceremony,” Key said.
Wallace State’s Machine Tool Technology program has an extended history of producing SkillUSA medalists and this year was no different with Smith, Andrews and Warren winning.
“SkillsUSA is a challenging process, but because our program is top-notch, it allows to be well prepared to compete,” Smith said. “Our instructors have us ready.”
All of Wallace State’s gold medalist winners advance to the 53rd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference to be held in Louisville, Ky., from June 19-23.
All 1st-place winners will seek to join Joey Foster of welding (2009) and Matthew O’Neal of machine tool technology (2003) as Wallace State SkillsUSA national champions.
Wallace State’s students will be required to complete written and performance tests at the national tournament.
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. SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.
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Wallace State Community College
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