JCJC’s SkillsUSA students headed to national competition

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2018-05-10 14:10:10

ELLISVILLE-Twenty-four Jones County Junior College students went to Jackson to compete in the SkillsUSA state competition with eighteen students coming home with top honors. In June, the seven first-place winners will be headed to Louisville, Kentucky for the National SkillsUSA competition. Among the winners, JCJC SkillsUSA Advisor, Ryan Hearn said is a group of students who boldly accepted the challenge to create a product in a new category, Engineering Design and Technology.

“This was a very challenging competition because students were required to develop an out-of-the-box solution to an everyday problem. They were responsible for the initial concept, design, modifications and preparation for state competition. I was very impressed with our group from JCJC taking first place in this new category,” said Hearn.

JCJC students, Justin Aultman of Saginaw, Michigan and current resident of Seminary, McKenna Pippen of Seminary and Derek Holder of Lucedale had to present their creation to a panel of judges that was made up a group of head engineers from the Nissan Plant in Canton, Mississippi. With their first place win, these young entrepreneurs hope to sell their hand-powered trash compactor and are working towards marketing the product.

“I think the judges liked the idea because there is nothing like it now on the market and it solves a problem that many can relate to,” said Aultman, who came up with the idea. “I had an overflowing trashcan and I stuck my foot in the garbage can with baby diapers and all. Yeah, it was pretty gross. Our idea will solve that problem in the future.”

The team believes they have set a high standard for future competitors in this category, partly because they came prepared to the competition with a 3-D model of their invention.

“Aultman’s team set the bar high and I look forward to future inventions by JCJC students. Overall, JCJC was well represented and trained for the state competition. The students handled themselves professionally and are excited to see what the next level of competition will be like with students from across the nation,” said Hearn.  

Also headed to the national competition is Mayson Norton of Mobile, Alabama after winning the Related Technical Math competition. Sarena Evans of Heidelberg earned first place honors in Commercial Baking and Christopher Dukes of Stringer took home first place in Culinary Arts. Ben Smith of Quitman won first place honors in the Sheet Metal category at the state SkillsUSA contest. His instructor at JCJC, Thomas Johnson is excited about Smith carrying on a winning tradition.

“In 2016, JCJC brought home the gold in the Sheet Metal category, in 2017 we earned third place, and we got first place honors this year. We are looking forward to continuing the winning streak and giving students the opportunity to excel in their careers. When the students win, I feel like I won too because, when I see students accomplish their goals it brings me great joy,” said Johnson.

After only four months of training, Smith managed to build a three-foot transition elbow with a 90-degree angle for ductwork to precise measurements within seven hours. Johnson said Smith’s skills are in high demand for those who can accept the challenge.

“You have to practice measuring and pounding the sheet metal to the exact dimensions. It’s all done by hand but I really enjoy the challenge. After graduation, it’s nice to know I have a job waiting for me,” said Smith.

The second and third place winners at the SkillsUSA State competition include Richard West of Petal who received second place in Welding Sculpture. Heather Williams of Petal earned second place in Power Equipment with David Jones of Sumrall and Cassandra Musgrove of Purvis
earning second place in Esthetics. The JCJC Quiz Bowl team of Kevin Parkin of Petal, Warren Blackwell of Mt. Olive, Mason Wells of Raleigh, Jason Craven of Ellisville and Jaylon Hathorne of Bassfield earned second place. Third place honors were awarded to Austin Mullins of Ellisville in CNC Turning and Heidelberg’s Halcyon Morgan took third place in the CNC Technician category.
The SkillsUSA National Competition will be held June 25 through 29, where Hearn said hundreds of student competitors are getting real-world experience and recognition for their skills.


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