Gadsden State Community College students earned seven gold medals, 10 silver medals and two bronze medals during the recent Alabama SkillsUSA Leadership Conference, Career Expo and State Championship held in Birmingham and at various locations around the state.
Technical students from the Ayers, East Broad and Valley Street campuses competed with more than 1,700 students in over 80 different categories including carpentry, precision machining, HVACR, automotive refinishing, automated manufacturing, crime scene investigation, job skill demonstration and cosmetology.
The seven first-place winners will represent Gadsden State at the 52nd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference June 20-24 in Louisville, Ky.
Students finishing in first place and earning gold medals are Maggie Fox-Eggleton (Rainbow City) in Nail Care; David Andablo (Guntersville) in Automotive Refinishing; Elleigh Hall (Anniston) in Prepared Speech; Branden Higdon (Higdon) in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration; Jacob Norton (Rainbow City) in Collision Repair; Cody Tucker (Sardis) in CNC Milling; and the team of Kenneth Howell (Gallant), Gary McCain and Derrick McDaniel (Hokes Bluff) in Automated Manufacturing Technology.
“These students are high achievers and become some of Gadsden State’s greatest success stories,” said Tim Green, dean of technical education and workforce development. “They are great representatives of our College and the community college system as a whole, and we are proud of their accomplishments at the SkillsUSA competition.”
Students earning silver medals and finishing in second place include Harley Brooks (Wellington) in Nail Care; Nikolas Couch (Anniston) in Prepared Speech; Casey Finch (Alexandria) in Technical Drafting; Molly Johnson (Attalla) in Esthetics; Nolan Phillips (Ohatchee) in CNC Milling; David Plunkett (Pinson) in HVACR; Jacob Ritten (Eastaboga) in Industrial Motor Controls; Joshua Smith (Jacksonville) in Electrical Construction Wiring; Summer Walden (Hokes Bluff) in CNC Turning and Justin Wilkes (Springville) in Carpentry.
Bronze medals for finishing in third place were awarded to Chase Blanton (Walnut Grove) in HVACR and Alex Vaught (Guntersville) in Carpentry.
Several other students represented Gadsden State at the competition, as participants or models, including Amari Bell, Amiee Gaskill, Shelby Dingus, Victoria Hackett, Breanna Hosch, Clay McCoy and Blake Shankles.
“We have some of the finest technical instructors in the state working on our campuses,” Green said. “They are committed to the mission of developing students who excel in these type of skills competitions and who are prepared to compete for jobs in today’s workforce.
Program instructors for students competing include Kristi Clifton and Zora Garner (Cosmetology /Esthetics/Nail Care), Tim Hardy and Joe Hulsey (HVACR), Heath McDaniel (Carpentry), Joe Mashburn (Collision Repair/Automotive Refinishing), Dave Hyatt (Architectural Drawing), Darren McCrary (Welding), David Smith (CNC Milling/CNC Turning/ Automotive Manufacturing Technology), James Wilson (Automotive Manufacturing Technology/Technical Drafting), Laura Sullins (Prepared Speech) and Tony Thrower (Electrical Construction Wiring/Industrial Motor Controls).
The SkillsUSA competition is a partnership among students, teachers, schools, and industry working together to showcase talent. The national organization for college/postsecondary technical students enrolled in trade, technical, and skilled service profession instructional programs including allied health occupations represents more than 300,000 students and instructors. SkillsUSA has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.
For more information about Gadsden State technical programs visit www.gadsdenstate.edu.