Wilkes Community College students led the state in overall medal counts at the 53rd Annual SkillsUSA North Carolina Leadership and Skills Conference on April 18-20, 2018, in Greensboro. The event drew over 3,500 students, instructors, industry members and volunteers. Nearly 2,500 high school and postsecondary students competed in over 78 different skills and leadership contests. WCC’s 115 student competitors, including 42 Career & College Promise high school students, brought home 81 medals: 34 first place gold medals, 15 second place silver medals, 13 third place bronze medals, 12 fourth place finishes, and 7 fifth place credits. Of the 115 WCC competitors, 81 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 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 26.

Thirty-four of the first-place winners will now represent North Carolina and Wilkes Community College at the 53rd SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., on June 25-30, 2018.

“It feels great to be a part of the Wilkes Community College faculty and staff and Wilkes County School System because 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.”

Community support is vital to the WCC SkillsUSA Club, and its members and advisors wish to thank local sponsors: 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. 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, this year’s WCC Annual Fund Drive allowed contributors to designate that their donation be applied to the WCC SkillsUSA Club. Allison Phillips, executive director of the WCC Foundation, said “We would like to thank all of our donors for the Annual Fund Drive that designate their gift to the WCC SkillsUSA club. It is with their continued support that we are able to provide financial assistance to WCC students to participate in the State and National SkillsUSA Competitions in Greensboro and Louisville, Ky. The WCC Foundation wishes our students the best of luck at Nationals.”

WCC student’s Top 5 results were as follows:

  • Action Skills – Kane Exposito (1st place)
  • Additive Manufacturing – James Garris, Domanique Medranio (1st place team)
  • Architectural Drafting – Andrew Williams (1st place), Jacob Smith (2nd place), Caleb Roberts (3rd place), Kirkland Manning (4th place)
  • Automotive Beginner Harvest Time Christian Academy CCP – Josh Brown (2nd place), Steven Brown (3rd place)
  • Automotive Service Technology – Lewis Pedraza (4th place)
  • Automotive Tool ID – Zachary Ritenour (1st place) Rayquan Lamont Howell (5th place)
  • Career Pathways Showcase: Natural Resources/Agriculture/Food College – Matthew Giuffre, Amanda Salmi, Ethan Sprinkle (1st place team) Career Pathways Showcase: Natural
  • Resources/Agriculture/Food High School– Kaylee Bowlin, Sydney Roberts, Hunter Shepherd (1st place team)
  • Carpentry – Dillon Bauguess (1st place), Caleb Byrd (3rd place)
  • CNC Milling Specialist – Ezekiel Hayes (1st place), Alex Parker (2nd place)
  • CNC Turning Specialist – Jacob Rowe (2nd place)
  • Collision Repair Technology – Thomas Jones (3r place), Dillion Houck (5th place)
  • Community Service Team – Chasity Brown, James King, Janine Severt (2nd place team)
  • Dental Assisting – Haley Rogers (4th place), Ana Olvera-Angel (5th place)
  • Diesel Equipment Technology College– Logan Page (1st place), Kevin Loggins (2nd place), David Brown (3rd place), Matthew Crane (4th place)
  • Diesel Equipment Technology CCP – Benjamin Bradburn (3rd place), Nathan Bowles (4th place)
  • Early Childhood Education – Kelsi Pierce (1st place), Amber Berryman (2nd place), Mikaela Hamlin (3rd place), Kyra Brooks (4th place), Victoria Sloan (5th place)
  • First Aid/CPR – Nereyda Corrales-Escobar (4th place), Michael Godfrey (5th place)
  • Health Knowledge Bowl – Jaydi Alexander, David Burke, Savannah Shoemaker, Jessica Tritt (1st place team)
  • Health Occupations Professional Portfolio – Kendall Faw (3rd place)
  • Internetworking – Benjamin Faw (3rd place) Skyler Hatton (4th place), Joshua Faw (5th place)
  • Job Skill Demonstration A – Phillip Benfield (4th place)
  • Job Skill Demonstration Open – William Shore 3rd place
  • Medical Terminology – Payton York (5th place)
  • Motorcycle Service Technology – Austin Pendry (3rd place)
  • Nurse Assisting – Teresa Muñoz-Maya (1st place), Summer Dawson (2nd place)
  • Pin Design – Ashley Bauguess (2nd place)
  • Power Equipment Technology – James Alkema (1st place), Slade Reed (3rd place)
  • Prepared Speech – Miranda Tilger (2nd place)
  • Promotional Bulletin Board –Sylvia Rubio-Reyes Christopher McClanahan, Mariana Moore (1st place team)
  • Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue – Ethan Cummings, Willard Sheets (1st place team)
  • Telecommunications Cabling – Derek Trivette (1st place)
  • T-Shirt Design – Casey Hefner (1st place)
  • Technical Drafting – Joshua Benson (3rd place)
  • Welding Fabrication College Team – Joseph Cochram, Zach Huffman, Thomas Bitner (1st place)
  • Welding Fabrication CCP Team – Weston Johnson, Brannon Smoot, Brandon Esparza (1st place team); Zachary Gregory, Joshua Hart, Holden Eller (2nd place team); Charles Ballard,
  • Clint Jones, Noah Osborne (4th place team)

“On top of their awards and recognitions, our students can be proud that they were awarded the opportunity to receive over $250,000 in 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.

First place winner Dillan Bauguess will represent North Carolina in the national carpentry competition in Louisville, Ky.