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SkillsUSA students take national stage

asdfDarbie Pope won a national competition search and was chosen to perform that National Anthem during the 2013 Competition Opening Ceremony.

Last week, Holmes Community College sent 18 students to the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) in Kansas City. In its 49th year, the NLSC is designed as a showcase for high school and community college career and technical education students.

“Holmes Community College is proud of these students, who spent many hours preparing to compete against the nation’s best,” said Holmes Community College President Dr. Glenn F. Boyce. “Our strong presence at the National Leadership and Skills Competition represents our commitment to create a skilled labor force, that will improve the lives of our students and strengthen our communities, state and nation.”

As a part of this year’s competition, more than 6,000 outstanding career and technical students took part in 98 hands-on occupational and leadership skill areas. In order to participate in the national competition, students have to have won gold on the state level.

Goodman Campus student and Kosciusko-native, Darbie Pope took part in a national talent competition against SkillsUSA members from across the nation. Pope won and was chosen to perform that National Anthem during the 2013 Competition Opening Ceremony.

Boyce, who traveled to Kansas City for the event, described Pope’s performance as “the highlight” of the competition’s Opening Ceremony celebration. 

“It is quite an honor to have been chosen to perform on such a large stage,” Boyce said. “Darbie’s performance was incredible and she handled it with all the poise of a professional.”

Goodman Campus students Matthew Gray, Brian Holley, Jeremy Latham, Corey McBride, Austin Purvis and Marc Anthony Smith won a team bronze in Chapter Business Procedure.

Individual participants in the national competition were: Grenada student Kate Burson, Medical Terminology; Goodman student Felicia Hill, Job Interview; Grenada student Stephanie McAfee-Thomas, Prepared Speech; and Goodman student Eric Rocket, Major Appliance and Refrigeration. Hill and Rocket each placed 7th nationally; and Burson and McAfee-Thomas each placed 14thnationally, in their respective categories.

Team participants were Goodman Campus students Jessica Shaffer, Jessica Parker, Bonita Ruby, Taylor Bethany, Kristian Clark, Andrea Leach and Ashley Riley for Opening & Closing Ceremonies. As a team, the group placed 8th in the nation.

At the NLSC, students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in categories like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assistant and welding, to name a few. Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations. Test competencies are set in coordination with industry standards. 

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves trade, industrial, technical and health occupations students in public high schools, career and technical centers and schools and two-year colleges. SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 student members annually, organized at more than 3,600 schools and in 54 state and territorial associations. Since 1965, SkillsUSA has served nearly 10.3 million members.