Approximately 250 students from North Carolina competed in 71 skills and leadership contests and placed in the top 10 of 39 competitive events. North Carolina received four gold medals, five silver medals, three bronze medals, and 18 National Awards of Distinction for ranking among the top 10 in the Nation. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Medallions hung around the winners' necks on stage as the spotlights reflected back on the cheering crowd of more than 13,000 during the awards ceremony in Kemper Arena.
The SkillsUSA Championship is considered the largest single day of corporate volunteerism in America and is valued at $25 million in industry support of donated time, equipment, materials and in-kind contributions. All contests are run by and judged by industry using industry standards for employment. Over 1,000 industry judges participated this year.
Industry leaders representing over 1,000 businesses, corporations and trade associations recognized the students for their demonstrated excellence in hands-on occupational and leadership contests.
"More than 4,000 secondary and post-secondary students from every state and three territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) competed in 75 contests in Technical, Skilled, and Service Occupations including Health Occupations this year," said SkillsUSA Executive Director Timothy W. Lawrence. "These state and national champions prove that Career and Technical Education expands student opportunities. Many of these students are going on to a higher education; others will begin their high skilled careers right away.
"Either route they choose, these students have focus," he said. "They're the future employees industry wants to hire and promote. The support SkillsUSA receives from industry proves it. That's a strong message to anyone considering education options."
As part of the 39th annual SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference, the Timberland PRO of the Timberland Company hosted a Community Service Event at the Ozanam Boys and Girls Home, a non-profit center for children with emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities, located in Kansas City. More than 250 participants from across the nation, comprised of SkillsUSA students and advisors, Timberland employees and member of City Year, volunteered their time and work skills to the service day.
The team spent a combined 1,500 hours on transforming projects such as landscaping tree and flowerbeds, renovating children's living spaces, painting and building a softball field.
Doug Zimmerman, president of Ozanam, said, "We are thrilled to have SkillsUSA, Timberland PRO, and City Year on campus. The impact they have had on our organization is both tremendous and overwhelming; they've not only enhanced our campus facilities, but also our ability to serve the children and families we care for."
"Community service gives the students the opportunity to put their trade and leadership skills into action in a positive way, creating real and sustainable impact in the community," said Ted Lund of Timberland PRO. "West Bladen High School was fortunate to have had three of the four SkillsUSA students chosen from the North Carolina delegation to participate in this National Community Service event.
The West Bladen students who participated, said West Bladen Advisor Graham Yarborough, were Derrick Rice, Brandy Hyatt and Natalie Strickland.
Members of the West Bladen SkillsUSA Chapter Business Team are among the top two percent of all Secondary and Post-Secondary students in the nation as on the Championship teams in various events from each state are allowed to advance to national-level competition each year in Kansas City.
Yarborough added, "Every time we go to the Nationals, I tell the students that it's a great honor to have earned the right to compete and participate on the national level. Any placement from this point on will truly be a life-changing experience for you, I tell them.
"I am very proud of this team's achievements as well as every student who chooses to excel through the many skills and leadership training programs that SkillsUSA offers," Yarborough said.. "I'd also like to thank the many supporters for their generous donations for making it possible for these students to attend this National event."
Members of the team who competed in Kansas City were Ryan Young, Clint Owens, Jeremy Shaver, Aaron Corcellius, Ralph Vitale, Adam Hardee and team alternate Derrick Rice. The team was coached by Jessie Howell.
Chapter Advisor Yarborough currently serves as vice president of the Association for Career and Technical Education, representing the Trade and Industry division. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the National SkillsUSA organization.
SkillsUSA-VICA is a national organization serving 266,000 high school and college students and professional members in training programs in technical, skills and service occupations. Student membership offers leadership, citizenship and character development programs that emphasize respect for the dignity of work, high standards in trade ethics, quality workmanship, scholarship and safety. The program promotes understanding of the free enterprise system and encourages the development of patriotism through the democratic process in local chapters.