Wiregrass Tech’s 2021 National SkillsUSA Gold Medal Winners in Mechatronics Parker Metcalf, and Benjamin Sandusky.
Valdosta, GA – Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is proud to announce four students who medaled at the 56th Annual National SkillsUSA Competition. In past years, the college’s SkillsUSA team that earned gold at the state level traveled to Kentucky for the National competition. This year the competition at both state and national level was held virtually with competitions in 103 different trade, technical, and leadership fields. Students performed their skills at their colleges while being filmed against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, auto collision, precision machining, medical assisting, and culinary arts. All competitions are designed, run, and judged with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations, and test competencies are set using industry standards.
Top student winners received gold, silver, and bronze medallions. Many also received prizes such as tools of their trade or scholarships to further their career and education. The SkillsUSA Championship is for high-school and college-level students who are members of the 360,000-member SkillsUSA organization. Wiregrass competed in 8 competitions at nationals, with two gold and two silver medals, and six named in the top nine in the nation.
Wiregrass Mechatronics recent graduates Parker Metcalf and Benjamin Sandusky earned a Gold medal in Mechatronics and the Georgia Postsecondary Curtiss P. Bell Award of Excellence in Team Competition (highest scoring). The Gold medalists were advised by Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Mechatronics Instructor Joshua Whittington, and Mechatronics Instructor Cory Leghorn. In the Electrical Construction Wiring Competition, Wiregrass Industrial Systems Technology student Jacob McSpadden earned a Silver medal, and in Industrial Motor Control, Tyrek Robinson, an Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies student, also earned a Silver medal. Both students were advised by Drew Vickers Electrical/Industrial System Technology Program Coordinator.
Wiregrass hosted a watch party on the campus and was able to watch as the top nine students in each contest were recognized on screen during the over four-hour awards ceremony. The college is excited to learn these students placed in the “top nine” in the nation. They are listed with their program and competition field.
- Douglas Hisaw, Automotive Technology Student in Employment Application Process
- Azer Larson, Barbering student in Barbering
- Penny Griffin, Health Information Technology, in Medical Terminology
- Andrew Francis, Welding, in Welding Art Sculpture
- Kaycee Armstrong, Gaming Development, in Interactive App and Game Development
- Noah Ivey, Gaming Development, in Interactive App and Game Development
All of Wiregrass competitors earned the Skill Point Certificate, part of the Work Force Ready System. The criterion is developed and endorsed by industry representatives and signifies students who have achieved technical competencies and proficiencies on the national level.
“Being a member of SkillsUSA is a wonderful experience for all involved, and a great opportunity for students to build workplace skills, as well as hone their technical skills for competition,” said Kelley Wetherington, Campus Life Coordinator. The students and advisors who attended the SkillsUSA National Championships worked hard to earn a place on our SkillsUSA National Championship Team. “We have some amazing students who put in the extra hours to prepare to compete against the best of the best in the nation. Not only did our students work hard, so did our instructors, going above and beyond to train our students for their competitions.”
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. It is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school students, and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skills service occupations, including health occupations. The SkillsUSA program hosts local, state, and national competition for students to showcase their skills learned through hands-on training in the classroom.
The college is seeking sponsors for the 2022 National Championship team, which will return to in-person competition next year. For more information about SkillsUSA, please contact Kelley Wetherington, Director of Campus Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (229) 333-2100 ext.1237.