JCJC Skills USA students win at state; headed to nationals

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2015-04-24 16:29:32

ELLISVILLE – Ten out of the seventeen Jones County Junior College students competing at the State Skills USA competition recently are headed to the national competition after taking top honors in Jackson. Students receiving first place will go against more than 6,000 students nationally in June in Louisville, Kentucky. 
“I am very proud of the amount of extra hours of work our student competitors and their instructors put in outside of regular class time to prepare for competition. They worked hard and it certainly showed on awards night,” said Karen Kirk, JCJC drafting and design instructor and Skills USA sponsor. 
The winners of the annual SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference were: Esthetics-Megan Pruett of Hattiesburg and her model, Lakken Walters of Laurel; Promotional Bulletin Board-Lacey McLain of Laurel, Katelynn Brock of Petal and Lexie King of Laurel; Related Technical Math-Josh Ramos of Laurel; Technical Drafting-Andrew Murry of Beaumont; Welding Fabrication-Ariel Johnson of State Line, Jacob McLeod of Lucedale, Russell Green of Leakesville; Welding-Garth Breland of Beaumont.  Each student beat out the more than 1,200 outstanding career and technical education students from across Mississippi who joined in the hands‑on competition in different trade, technical, and leadership fields. To add to the stress to perform, students had to work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in job skills for occupations such as welding, technical drafting, automotive service, cosmetology and HVAC, and marketing, as well as competitions in leadership skills, such as job interview and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedures.
“My test consisted of a huge variety of problems ranging in difficulty from calculating gas mileage to velocity of an airplane. I studied so hard for this test. Mr. Hearn really prepared me for this competition,” said JCJC’s first place winner in the Related Technical Math category, Josh Ramos of Laurel. JCJC civil engineering technology instructor, Ryan Hearn said this was the first time a Civil Engineering Technology student at JCJC competed in this category. He is proud Ramos earned the opportunity to prove his skills in Louisville. 
“He did really well applying his trigonometry, geometry and other math skills to the real-world scenarios in the Skills USA competition,” said Hearn.
The welding team of Ariel Johnson, Jacob McLeod, Russell Green and Garth Breland also made history at JCJC by winning in both welding categories, Welding Fabrication and Welding. According to Clint James, JCJC welding instructor, Dean of Learning Centers & Outreach and Greene County Center Director, that has never happened before.
“We won both categories because of their teacher, Tommy Freeman. He has emphasized fabrication and we’ve never competed in that category,” said James.  
Three ladies in drafting and design, Lacey McLain, Katelynn Brock and Lexie King won first place in Promotional Bulletin Board because of their combined skills, explained McLain. King’s niche’ is art and drafting and design, Brock is a Microsoft Office guru while McLain is at ease doing presentations. 
“I really like the hands-on experience,” said McLain. “My job was to ‘sell’ the bulletin board and what set our board apart from others was we promoted Skills USA according to the guidelines. This was an eye-opening experience for us.”
The three JCJC students earning second place include: Charitei Anderson of Hazlehurst in Job Interview (cosmetology); Hans Vanhouten of Moselle in Motorcycle Service Technology; and Brekae Robinson of Ellisville in Nail Care with Haley Davidson of Ellisville as her hand model. Third place winners include: Garrett Lancaster of Petal in Architectural Drafting; Tyler Henry of Hattiesburg in Automotive Technology; Brittney Henley of Hattiesburg in Cosmetology; and Colten Wales of Gulfport in Power Equipment Technology.
SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.


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