JCJC SkillsUSA students win at state; headed to nationals
Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2017-03-10 10:20:43
ELLISVILLE – Fifteen of the twenty-seven Jones County Junior College students competing in the State SkillsUSA competition in Jackson earned gold, silver or bronze medals. Five students earned first place in the state and will be headed to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Students receiving top honors will go against more than 6,000 students at the National Leadership and Skills Conference in mid-June.
“I’m extremely proud of this year’s competitors. It shows they have the technical, academic, and employability skills to succeed in a career. The preparations, experience, and knowledge gained have proven to elevate a student’s value for future employers. The awards ceremony exemplified the many efforts put forth by each individual student and advisor. We look forward to having some additional medals from Nationals!” said JCJC SkillsUSA advisor and JCJC civil engineering technology instructor, Ryan Hearn, P.E.
The winners of the annual SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference were: Brandon Jones of Bay St. Louis, in Architectural Drafting; Joe Westbrook of Raleigh, in Technical Drafting; Anna Grace Walters of Ellisville, and her nail model, Megan Piercy of Purvis, in Nail Care; and machining major, James ‘Halcyon’ Morgan of Heidelberg, in Extemporaneous Speaking.
“You really have to think on your feet!” said Halycon Morgan. “I wanted to compete in an open category because I have more experience right now in theater and speech. This is my first year in machining, however, I learned a great deal in a short amount of time at the competition,” said the aspiring manufacturing entrepreneur.
Students had to beat more than 1,200 outstanding career and technical education students from across Mississippi to earn gold medals and the right to compete nationally 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, HVAC, and marketing, as well as competitions in leadership skills, such as job interview and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedures.
Competing on a state-wide level gives students like JCJC sophomore, Joe Westbrook an idea of how prepared they are for the job market. He hopes to finish his welding degree this summer as he works towards a degree in engineering with an emphasis in manufacturing. His task was to create a working drawing including part details, a bill of materials and an assembly drawing using CAD software within a 5 ½ hour time limit.
“It was a great feeling to see my hard work pay off. This was a fun and rewarding experience,” said Westbrook.
Brandon Jones aspires to be his own boss creating commercial and residential designs. Contestants in the architectural drafting test were allotted 5 ½ hours to draw a four-bedroom floor plan, bonus room floor plan, four exterior elevations, kitchen cabinet details, three different types of schedules, a roof plan and an electrical plan. Using AutoCAD and Autodesk Revit, Jones created a 3D model of the assignment and the required documentation.
“During the awards ceremony, when they called my name as the first place winner, my heart started beating super fast and I knew I would always remember that moment for the rest of my life,” said Jones.
Cosmetology major and first place in nail care competition, Anna Walters wants to specialize in nail and esthetics. She said she enjoys all aspects of cosmetology but wants to be versatile and marketable when she graduates from the JCJC program.
“In our experience with SkillsUSA, we learned proper time management, teamwork, and our individual strengths and weaknesses. I also learned not to sell myself short,” said Walters.
Silver medalists from JCJC were Tyler Wells of Raleigh, in Related Technical Math; Joe Bolivar of Ellisville, in Marine Services; Andrew Donald of Ellisville, in (Automotive) Job Demo A; Aaron Eubanks of Leakesville, in Welding Sculpture; Mercedes Starr of Moselle, in CNC Milling; Zac McKinley of Taylorsville, in CNC Turning.
Earning bronze medals were Chelsea Moore of Sumrall, and Hope Martin of Raleigh, in Esthetics; Alonso Hernandez of (Costa Rico) Ellisville, in Motorcycle Service; and Thomas H. Johnson of Wiggins, in Sheet Metal. Ironically, Johnson’s son won this category last year.
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.