JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — It is has been a very busy month at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus. On April 15 and 16 students from around the state gathered in Columbus to show off their talents and skills at the state competition for SkillsUSA. SkillsUSA is a national organization that holds competitions for high school career technology programs. One of the unique aspects about SkillsUSA is that it brings together students who are mastering their technical skills, educators and members of the community who are already experts in their fields. The competition is held at the Columbus Convention Center, a large event building that hosts a variety of events from conventions to nationwide professional acts.
Students from all over the state come together with only one goal in mind - to win. Although the competition is the main focus for the two-day event, there are many other benefits for all involved. The event allows students to discuss their field with experts from around the state, and professionals are able to give back to the community by sharing their passion with young people who are interested in working in their field.
Senior Public Safety student Luis Castrillon said, “I met many professionals that gave me a lot of information about my field during my trip to Columbus. Hopefully, these contacts will help me in the future if I ever plan to move somewhere else in the state if I need to find a job.”
It is a significant event for the students that compete because they can be a part of something much bigger than succeeding in their school environment.
Senior masonry student Michael Hussing said, “Coming to Columbus really pushed me to improve my skills. It was a great trip and I met a lot of new people that I can keep in touch with after high school.” You can just see the feelings of pride, accomplishment and passion on their faces. Even if the student did not win there was still mutual respect and sportsmanship among the competitors.
Senior Megan McClure said, “Even though I did not medal at Columbus, the experience was positive for me. Spending time with my classmates, as well as meeting new students and professionals was a great experience.” The students have an opportunity to meet other students they would be less likely to meet somewhere else. They also have the opportunity to see how other schools do things. For example, the Public Safety program at A-Tech consists of a criminal justice course that extends through the junior year and firefighter/ emergency medical technician class that extends through the senior year. A lot of schools that were at State SkillsUSA for the firefighting competition have the firefighting class established for two years instead of just one.
Winners from A-Tech this year include Jake Wight, Brandon Clay who placed third in the robotics competition. For business procedure, Colin O’Brien, Jason Bernardo, Wyatt Chance, Trevor Akos and T.J. Richards placed second. Carly Tackett, Garrett Sintic and Matt Akos placed first in the “Bulletin Board” competition which qualifies them for the national competition.