Wilkes Community College (WCC) students were one of the leading schools in the state in overall medal counts at the 57th Annual SkillsUSA North Carolina Leadership and Skills Conference on April 27-29, 2022, with the Awards Ceremony for college held on April 28th and high school on April 29, 2022.

Wilkes Community College’s 78 student competitors, including 21 Career & College Promise high school students, brought home 41 medals: 15 first-place gold medals, nine second-place silver medals, seven third-place bronze medals, five fourth place, and five fifth-place finishes. Of the 78 WCC competitors, 42 placed in the top five, and everyone placed in the top nine in the state. WCC was named as part of the North Carolina SkillsUSA Elite 100 Club, which means WCC has had over 100 students enrolled for the last five years.

WCC students’ Top 5 results were as follows:

  • Architectural Drafting: Daniel Durham, first place; Dakota Baker, second place
  • Automotive Refinishing Technology: Tyler Couch, fifth place
  • Automotive Service Technology: Matthew Taylor, first place
  • Career Pathways Showcase Ag/ Natural Resources: Jade Curtis, Samantha Hohm, Isaac Lidke, first-place team
  • Collision Damage Appraisal: Logan Stuckey, third place; Heather McGuire, fourth place
  • Early Childhood Education: Marlena Mudd, first place
  • Job Skill Demo Open: Jordan Spears, first place
  • Power Equipment Technology: Mason Swaim, first place
  • TeamWorks: Evan Chapman, Seth Culler, Hayden Foster, Tryston Walker, first-place team
  • T-Shirt Design: Lacey Church, second place
  • Welding Fabrication College Teams: Bailey Hogge, Joseph Johnson, Aaron Shaver, second place team; Austin Barker, Claude Hall, Sam Joines, third-place team
  • Welding Fabrication CCP Teams: West Wilkes High School- Drew Brown, Ashley Bumgarner, Hudson Severt, first-place team; East Wilkes High School—Gavin Dowell, Alex Gentry, Darren Lincoski, second-place team; Alleghany High School—Francisco Martinez, Logan Pugh, Alex Woodel, third-place team; East Wilkes High School- Easton Brown, Jakob Davis, Houston Mathis, fourth-place team; East Wilkes High School—Brennan Arnder, Brody Martin, Ayden Smoot, fifth-place team

The 15 first-place winners will now represent North Carolina and Wilkes Community College at the 57th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Ga. June 20-24, 2022.

“It feels great to be a part of the Wilkes Community College faculty and staff and Wilkes County School System. We have a group of the absolute best students in the state, and they proved that at the SkillsUSA state competition,” said advisor Hardin Kennedy. “During the awards ceremony, it was apparent to everyone that WCC, our students, and the faculty and staff lead North Carolina in education and leadership skills. Everyone is to be commended for their accomplishments, including this community that so wholeheartedly supports Wilkes Community College and Wilkes County Schools.”

“In addition to their awards and recognition, our students can be proud that they were awarded the opportunity to receive scholarship monies, tools, and equipment from sponsoring vendors to further their education,” adds Kennedy. “These students have proven that they have the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and are willing to take a step outside of the normal box, building a stronger workforce for this region. Still, many of them may elect to go on to expand their skills. So, these prizes will help those students achieve that ambition.”

Wilkes Community College is proud to host the SkillsUSA Northwest Region Rally and Career Showcase and appreciates the community support that goes into this annual event and the help from WCC’s SkillsUSA club. Community support is vital to the WCC SkillsUSA club, and its members and advisors want to thank local sponsors for their continued support. The college would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors: WCC faculty and staff, Adams Old Castle – Williams Roberts, Blevins Building Supply, Blue Ridge Tractor, McNeill Nissan, Flowers Auto Parts, HD Supply, High Country Paint, Home Builders Association of Wilkes and Yadkin, Impact Collision, John Deere with James River Equipment, Kris Dell Applied Software, L & A Emergency, Inc., Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, ARC 3 Welding Supply, Mike’s Body Shop, Millers Creek and Wilkesboro Volunteer Fire Departments, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Payne Power Equipment, Pine Hall Brick, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of NC, Inc., Snap-on Tools, Specialty Fabricators, Statesville Brick, The Welding Company, Triad Freightliner, Western Carolina Electric, Weyerhaeuser, and Yadkin Well Company, Inc.

Additional monetary donations were given by Duke Energy, Town of North Wilkesboro, NC Community Colleges Foundation, Inc., Window World, Inc., Wilkes County Home Builders Association, Evan and Victoria Handy, George and Nancy Koen, Arnold and Becky Lakey, Ann Parsons, Mac and Lisa Warren, and Window World, Inc.

In addition, contributors to the WCC Annual Fund Drive can designate that their donation be applied to the WCC SkillsUSA club. Allison Phillips, executive director of the WCC Foundation stated, “We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the donors that have contributed to the SkillsUSA club with their gift to the Annual Fund Drive. Through their generosity, we can continue to provide the much-needed financial assistance for WCC students to participate in the State and National SkillsUSA Competitions in Greensboro, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. On behalf of myself and the WCC Foundation, we wish our students the best of luck at Nationals.”

About WCC Skills USA Club

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce and helping 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.

While the highlights of the club’s year are the state and national competitions, students work year-round to prepare for competition and to promote SkillsUSA. Most recently, WCC hosted the Region 7 SkillsUSA Conference and Career Showcase on February 28, 2022, which turned out to be the largest gathering in the state as well as the largest in WCC’s history of hosting the regional gathering. This annual educational and professional development activity is open to all SkillsUSA members and advisors, high school Career and Technical Education students, business and industry partners, and educational partners. The event included SkillsUSA competitions and the opportunity for high school students to explore the many career training opportunities available to them at WCC.

In 2005, Transportation Technology Chairperson Hardin 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. That 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 hckennedy819@wilkescc.edu.

For more information on donating to the WCC Foundation or the Annual Fund, contact the Wilkes Community College Development Office at 336-838-6491. Contributions may be sent to WCC Foundation, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697.