ASU Mid-South Students Persevere at State SkillsUSA Championship and Proceed to National Championship
On June 19, eight Arkansas State University Mid-South students will embark upon a mission to earn gold at the national SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, KY. The competition, held from June 19 through June 23, will be the result of months of planning and preparation and gold medaling success in previous competitions at local and state levels.
The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. This is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. In 2015, there were more than 6,000 contestants in 100 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible. The philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.
The Championship event will include full days of educational seminars and competition and a full day service project. The event is capped off with an awards ceremony to recognize and celebrate winners. The structure of the national competition reflects the work, skills and leadership qualities reflected in the organization’s mission: SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.
Six students will compete in three health care related competitions. One student will compete in Computer Technical Applications and one additional student will compete in Aviation Maintenance. All students are part of ASU Mid-South technology center programs.
The ASU Mid-South National Skills USA Team is:
Basic Health Care
Health Knowledge Bowl
Jason Scott, Jazelle Stephens, Dawson Mathis & Verriae Wear
Computer Technical Applications
Information Technology Services
The national team is comprised of students who earned gold medals in the state competition. Although not every student qualified for the national competition, the ASU Mid-South team did well in the state competition. In April, 16 students earned either gold, silver or bronze recognition in the competition in Hot Springs.
Results for the state competition were:
Gold – Jeremie Paige (3rd year winning gold)
Silver – Xavier Jordan
Bronze – John Sampley
Bronze – Payton O’Quin (won gold in this category last year)
Information Technology Services-Post Secondary
Silver – Avan Carter (won bronze last year; is a high school student)
Computer Technical Applications-Post Secondary
Gold – E.B. Hosken
Silver – Byron Emerson (is a high school student)
Computer Technical Applications-Secondary
Silver – Chris Reid
Bronze – Josh Harris
Machining – CNC Turning-Post Secondary
Silver – Chad Nixon
Medical Terminology and Spelling-Secondary
Silver – Olivia Harrison
Basic Health Care – Secondary
Gold – Kiera Paige
Nurse Assisting – Secondary
Gold – Nakelya Larkin
Health Knowledge Bowl – Secondary
Gold Team – Jason Scott (bronze team last year), Jazelle Stephens, & Dawson Mathis
What is not readily clear in this story is the drive and perseverance that got these students to the point of qualifying for the national championship.
Each of these students has worked since last August in preparation for the April State and June National events. Jeremie Paige, a high school senior, is accomplishing his third trip to the national competition. He has placed gold for three consecutive years in the state competition in Aviation Maintenance.
Marion High School student, Avan Carter earned silver at the State level, but will be going to the National Championship to replace the gold medalist who cannot attend. This was his second year to compete in the State Championship having earned bronze in 2016. This will be his first attempt at a national award.
The students in the health care competitions set their plan in place in August. They knew the health care related competitions are the largest, most competitive with the toughest competitors of the contests in which ASU Mid-South competes. Their success is a study in developing a plan, implementing the plan, overcoming obstacles and winning. The Health Knowledge Bowl team lost a team member at the last minute. They competed with a team of three and won gold against other teams with four members. The Basic Healthcare and Nurse Assisting competitors began their competition with penalties for an incorrect uniform – they had on black shoes instead of the required white shoes. Both won gold despite the penalties.
“I’m so proud of my students,” said Martha Herron, Director of Medical Professions and Certified Nursing. “They worked so hard toward their goal, they set their plan, looked forward and never looked back. I really think they have what it takes to place in at nationals.”
SkillsUSA awards tuition vouchers to students who win gold, silver or bronze at the state level. This is a huge incentive for high school students to go on to a college or technical program to continue their education and training. For many students, winning at SkillsUSA provides their primary avenue to attain the financial resources to go to college.
ASU Mid-South is proud to support the hard work of each of our SkillsUSA students and the dedicated instructors who work with them.