Local students earn medals in state competition

BIG RAPIDS — Mecosta-Osceola Career Center students recently put what they learned in the classroom to the test in the Michigan SkillsUSA state competition.

SkillsUSA is a national membership association serving high school, college and middle school students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, according to the SkillsUSA website.

The competition can be a part of a student’s transition at the MOCC from a young adult to someone ready for the workforce, said MOCC Principal and Career and Technical Education Director Mike Miller. This year, more MOCC students competed in the state challenges, earning the career center a “High Five” award for increased membership and participation.

In total, two MOCC students earned a gold medal and will be advancing to the national competition set for late June in Louisville, Ky., 10 students earned a silver medal, four students earned a bronze medal and two students scored among the top 10 in the written leadership test.

“The leadership test is a written test all students take,” Miller said, noting hundreds of students attend the state-level competition.

Students Samantha Stilson and Alex Withers scored in the top 10 for the written test. Bronze medalists included Donald Shepherd-Bowen, action skills; Ashley Davis, CPR/first aid; Jonathan Withers, computer numerical controlled (CNC) milling specialist; and Parker Younge, CNC turning. Students who earned a silver medal included Zaria Martin and Erika Galbraith, post-secondary esthetics, which evaluates contestants on their professionalism and techniques in the field of skin care; Samuel Krakau, firefighting; and Jakob Martinson, Kalib Robinson, Keegan McKinnon, Alex Withers, Zane Hardy, Elliott Seay and Langston Hughes, opening and closing, which tests students’ representation of the colors and assembled parts of the SkillsUSA emblem. Gold medalists included Jenna French, post-secondary cosmetology; and Sawyer Thebo, firefighting.

“These students are an example of the great work going on at the career center,” Miller said.

Miller said while many students competed, many more did not participate in SkillsUSA. However, each student has a chance to be successful while pursuing their plans for a career or post-secondary education. He also congratulated the many instructors who helped prepare students for the competition.

“At the career center, students are coming in for their favorite class of the day,” he said. “They have an interest in that area. When that interest mixes with aptitude and the students compete at SkillsUSA, that’s when they rise to the top and showcase those skill.”