ROCKINGHAM — Seven Richmond Senior High School students arrived Monday in Louisville, Kentucky for the Skills USA 51st annual National Leadership and Skills Conference — a showcase of career and technical education students and their accomplishments.
The seven local students competing in the nationals won first place in state level competitions, making them eligible to attend the national conference.
The students representing Richmond Senior High School and categories they won in the state competition are:
• First place for interactive game development and design: Cody Mabe, Logan Kennedy, Stephen Collins and Jordan Jones
• First place for screenprinting: Daneisha Alsbrook
• First place for graphic imaging sublimation: Jylan Smith
• First place for graphic communications: Rogelio Reyes
Skills USA adviser Jason Warren said the support and sponsorship from the school district has been key to his group’s success at the state and national levels.
“The kids are working very hard,” Warren said. “They’re learning how to be leaders. Skills USA University teaches them qualities to take back and use in their education and the community, and for college for those who are seniors.”
Warren said his seven students will enter the competitive phase of the conference for the same divisions that won them first place in the state competition, respectively.
Tuesday’s opening ceremony, co-sponsored by Caterpillar Inc. and Snap-on Inc., was the conference’s first official event and marked the beginning of a series of training and career seminars that began Wednesday through Skills USA University under the sponsorship of Newell Rubbermaid.
According to skillsusa.org, “This is a multi-million dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. In 2014, there were nearly 6,000 contestants in 98 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible.”
Dr. Cindy Goodman, superintendent of Richmond County Schools, is proud of the students’ achievements.
“These seven Richmond Senior High School students are examples of the amazing opportunities our CTE department offers,” Goodman said. “After collaborating with their sponsors, they not only placed first in state but now have the opportunity to represent the district on a national level.”
The Career and Technical Education program exists to empower students for effective participation in a global economy as effective potential workers and citizens.
Goodman further said that the trip to Kentucky is an investment both in the school system and community, as it ensures Richmond County has future skilled workers in the areas of textiles, technology and graphic communications.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.