(Hartford, Conn., August 6, 2014) – Last month, the Connecticut Delegation – a group of students representing the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) – traveled to Kansas City, MO to compete in the SkillsUSA Championships as part of the 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a national showcase of career and technical education.
After earning state-level gold medals and successfully qualifying for nationals during SkillsUSA Connecticut’s 37th Annual State Leadership Conference and Skill Championships held in March, 46 first place category winners and school teams went on to compete at the national level in 99 specialized contests that simulated on-the-job challenges. According to national statistics provided by SkillsUSA, students participating in the event were already considered to be in the top 2% in the nation before entering the national championships.
During the two-day competition more than 6,000 student contestants – representing technical high school students across the country – proved their occupational knowledge and trade, industrial and technical expertise in skilled and technical sciences, as well as occupational skills like architectural drafting, CNC milling, electronics technology, nurse assisting, technical computer applications, HVAC maintenance, culinary arts and more.
CTHSS students took home three silver medals and five bronze medals in addition to placing in the “Top 10” for 18 events and the “Top 20” for 10 events. Antonio Vargas, a student at Norwich Technical High School, was named a 2014 – 2015 National Officer, making him the first Connecticut student to earn this honor in nearly 30 years.
The following Connecticut students earned Silver Medals:
• Christopher Gonzalez and Jacob Hawran, Hartford – A.I. Prince Technical High School – 2nd place, Audio/Radio Production
• Raul Robles, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 2nd place, CNC Turning
The following Connecticut students earned Bronze Medals:
• Fation Ajro, Waterbury – W.F. Kaynor Technical High School – 3rd place, First Aid/CPR
• Daniel Benoit, Norwich Technical High School – 3rd place, Electrical Construction Wiring
• Joseph Devino, Waterbury – W.F. Kaynor Technical High School – 3rd place, Carpentry
• Shawn McAuley, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 3rd place, HVACR
• Anthony Pizzola, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 3rd place, CNC Milling
The following Connecticut students placed in the “Top 10”:
• Vincent Pierce, Danielson – H.H. Ellis Technical High School – 4th place, Masonry
• Alysa Chenkus, Amanda Gaedeke, Bryonna Geiste, Kathryn Mazzucco, Delany Ruiz, Brianna Vece and Alyssa Sinclair, Meriden – H.C. Wilcox Technical High School – 5th place, Opening & Closing Ceremonies
• Catherine Gonzalez, Willimantic – Windham Technical High School – 5th place, Job Skill Demonstration Open
• Katheryn Keene, Meriden – H.C. Wilcox Technical High School – 6th place, Graphic Communications
• Nathan Bugbee, Middletown – Vinal Technical High School – 7th place, Cabinetmaking
• Justin Cipriano, Waterbury – W.F. Kaynor Technical High School – 7th place, Culinary Arts
• Michael Dendrea, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 7th place, Job Interview
• Jake Forgette, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 8th place, Precision Machining
• Alexander Valdes, Norwich Technical High School – 8th place, Electronics Technology
• Mia Dupuis, Jessica Gavilanes and Amanda Wallace, Meriden – H.C. Wilcox Technical High School – 10th place, Chapter Display
• Gabrielle LaFlesh, Norwich Technical High School – 10th place, Nurse Assisting
The following Connecticut students placed in the “Top 20”:
Brian Phillips, Milford – Platt Technical High School – 12th place, Prepared Speech
Mark Nolan, Norwich Technical High School – 12th place, Plumbing
Conner Longwill, Norwich Technical High School – 12th place, Customer Service
Erich Pfistner and Kurt Aronson, Middletown – Vinal Technical High School – 13th place, Robotics & Automation Technology
Nicholas Donnangolo, Waterbury – W.F. Kaynor Technical High School – 15th place, Collision Repair Technology
Hassan George, Groton – E.T. Grasso Technical High School – 16th place, Restaurant Service
Vallerie Gorman, Wolcott High School – 16th place, Medical Terminology
Rachel Betts, Alan LeBreck and Samantha Zajac, Meriden – H.C. Wilcox Technical High School – 18th place, Community Service
Connie Kelleher, Middletown – Vinal Technical High School – 18th place, T-Shirt Design
Luis Martinez, New Britain – E.C. Goodwin Technical High School – 19th place, Commercial Baking
1,100 judges assessed students’ performance during the SkillsUSA Championships and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. sponsored the awards ceremony, featuring Lowe’s Senior Vice President Troy Dally as the guest speaker. Students received industry-related prizes to support their future employment or further education. Attendance at the overall conference was estimated to include more than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders and representatives from more than 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions.
More than $36 million in industry and education contributions were donated for the event including time, equipment and materials. The SkillsUSA Championships is considered to be the single greatest day in industry volunteerism in America.
SkillsUSA is a national vocational student organization that is a partnership between students, teachers and the industry. SkillsUSA’s mission is to help each student excel to ensure a skilled future workforce.
SkillsUSA Connecticut is supported by over 100 industry partners across the state.
About The Connecticut Technical High School System
The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) currently operates 17 diploma-granting technical high schools, one technical education center and two aviation maintenance programs located throughout the state. The system serves approximately 11,200 full-time high school and adult day students, with comprehensive education and training in 31 occupational areas and 2,000 apprenticeship students. CTHSS is the largest high school system in Connecticut, serving all geographic regions and all demographic and diverse populations. For more information, visit cttech.org