Wilkes Community College students were one of the leading schools in the state in overall medal counts at the 54th Annual SkillsUSA North Carolina Leadership and Skills Conference on April 9-11, 2019, in Greensboro. The event drew over 6,500 students, instructors, industry members and volunteers. Nearly 3,500 high school and postsecondary students competed in over 78 different skills and leadership contests. WCC’s 102 student competitors, including 36 Career & College Promise high school students, brought home 53 medals: 29 first place gold medals, 10 second place silver medals, 4 third place bronze medals, 2 fourth place finishes, and 8 fifth place credits. Of the 102 WCC competitors, 53 placed in the top five and everyone placed in the top 14 in the state. WCC was named as part of the North Carolina SkillsUSA Elite 100 Club, which means WCC has had over 100 students competing for the last five years. Additionally, WCC received an award for most distinguished regional rally for the high school competition the college hosted on February 25.

Twenty-eight of the first-place winners will now represent North Carolina and Wilkes Community College at the 54rd SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., on June 24-29, 2019.

“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. “At the awards ceremony, it was apparent to everyone in attendance that this college, 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 whole-heartedly supports Wilkes Community College and Wilkes County Schools.”

WCC Vice President of Information Technology Michael Wingler states,” Experiencing the students prepare for competition at such a high of a level for Skills USA is equally rewarding for the Faculty and Staff and a major accomplishment for the Students.  Each year our students compete professionally and build the skills needed to bring value to the workforce.”

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 wish to thank local sponsors for their continued support.  The college thanks the following sponsors: WCC faculty and staff, Adams Oldcastle, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone Auto Parts, Blevins Building Supply, Blue Ridge Tractor, Tom and Karolen Bowman, Carolina West Wireless, Colors Edge, Empire Chevrolet, Empire Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Flowers Auto Parts, Hughes Supply, Impact Collision, Arnold and Becky Lakey, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Millers Creek Fire Department, North Carolina Association of Electrical Contractors, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Pardue’s Welding, Bobby and Susan Phillips, Pine Hall Brick, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors of N.C., Inc., The Record of Wilkes, Kathie Rider, Sylvia D. Robinson, Snap-on, Specialty Fabricators, Statesville Brick, William Stroud, The Welding Company, Town of North Wilkesboro, Tractor Supply Company of Wilkesboro, Western Carolina Electric, Weyerhaeuser, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department, Wilkesboro Fire Department and Yadkin Well Company, Inc., and Window World, Inc.

In addition, the WCC Annual Fund Drive allows contributors to 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 your 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 Louisville, Ky. On behalf of myself and the WCC Foundation, we wish our students the best of luck at Nationals.”

WCC student’s Top 5 results were as follows:

Action Skills – Kane Exposito (1st place)

Architectural Drafting – Serlina Francisco (1st place), Caleb Roberts (2nd place)

Automotive Beginner East Wilkes CCP – Josh Brown (1st place)

Automotive Refinishing Technology—Christopher Dixon (2nd place), Phillip Beinfield (3rd place)

Career Pathways Showcase: Natural Resources/Agriculture/Food College – Austin Gentle, Destiny Crouse, Ethan Sprinkle (1st place team)

Career Pathways Showcase: Natural Resources/Agriculture/Food West Wilkes CCP High School– Cassandra Gilbert, Christopher Hall, Jonathan Smith (1st place team)

Carpentry – Jacob Huffman (1st place), Caleb Byrd (2nd place)

CNC Milling Specialist Wilkes Central CCP – Tony Torres (4th place), Trae Harris (5th place)

CNC Turning Specialist Wilkes Central CCP – Dylan Pearson (1st place), Tyrese Lipford (2nd place)

Collision Damage Appraisal—Keith Haynes (5th place)

Collision Repair Technology – Carlos Sandoval (3rd place)

Cyber Security – Eric Lunsford (1st place)

Diesel Equipment Technology College– William Chapman (1st place), Justin Williams (4th place), Jonathan McMannus(5th place)

Diesel Equipment Technology CCP – Tyler Whisnant, East Burke Christian Academy (1st place), Nathan Bowles, Bowles Christian Academy (2nd Place)

Early Childhood Education – Amber Berryman (1st place), Tony Trivette Jr. (2nd place)

Health Knowledge Bowl – Brittney Johnson, Dallas Crouse, Abby Kenley, Michelle Wolfe (2nd place team)

Interactive Application and Video Game Creation – Isaac Griffin, Steven Miles (3rd place team)

Internetworking – Charles Erhardt (5th place)

Job Interview – Leah Ray (5th place)

Job Skill Demonstration A – Cole Adams (1st place)

Pin Design – Casey Hefner (5th place)

Pin Design High School CCP – Cortlyn Blythe, Alleghany High School (1st place)

Power Equipment Technology – James Alkema (1st place)

Related Technical Math – Hattie Cox (5th place)

Team Works – Matt Jarvis, Grant Mitchell, Justin Shepherd, Zeb Wilcox (1st place team)

T-Shirt Design –Ashley Bauguess (5th place)

Welding Fabrication College Team – Ranson Dyer, Grant Lyon, Jesus Salzar (1st place team)

Welding Fabrication CCP Team – Luke Blackburn, Clint Jones, Ray O’Grady, Wilkes Central High School (1st place team)

“On top of their awards and recognitions, our students can be proud that they were awarded the opportunity to receive scholarship monies to further their education,” adds Kennedy. “These students have proven that they have the skills needed to succeed in the workplace, building a stronger workforce for this region. Still, many of them may elect to go on to expand their skills. So, these scholarships will help those students achieve that ambition.”

About WCC Skills USA Club

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force 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 26, 2018, 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 making a donation 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.

Architectural Drafting
Career Pathways Showcase- Natural Resources-Agriculture-Food College
L-R: Austin Gentle, Kaylee Bowlin, and Ethan Sprinkle
Team Works
1st Place Pin Design: Cortlyn Blythe, Allegany Center CCP Student