More than 20 Carroll County Public Schools students will represent the state of Maryland in this year's National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference in June.
This year, the CCPS Career and Technology Center brought home 37 medals at the state level during the April competition.
Of the 37 medals Tech Center students won at the SkillsUSA Maryland State Leadership and Skills Championships, which is the state-level competition for high school and post-secondary students who are enrolled in Career and Technology Education programs, 21 of them were for first place. More than 1,000 Maryland CTE students competed in over 90 occupational and leadership skill events, according to a news release from the school system.
The first-place winners qualified for the national conference in Louisville, Kentucky the week of June 25-30, according to the release.
Tech Center Principal Bill Eckles said they had 70 students go to the state competition. In addition to the 21 gold medals, students brought home eight silver and eight bronze medals, he said, "which is a tremendous showing for us."
There are a number of different competitions, Eckles said. Students compete in anything from giving a prepared speech or a job interview competition, to more hands-on events, like carpentry.
"Some of them are more complicated," he said.
For carpentry, students were able to review plans the night before the event, and then the next day, they spent the day building a structure.
"Some of the competitions are on making a product," he said. "Some of them are based on a presentation."
Carroll County's Tech Center is made up of juniors and seniors, but those who go to the SkillsUSA competition are mainly seniors, he said.
"They're the ones that have gotten their skills to the level they have [to be] to compete," Eckles said.
For senior Julie Plunkert, whose home school is Westminster High School, the state level competition in April consisted of having to perform two haircuts and create an updo. About an hour was allotted for each task, she said.
Plunkert said she feels proud to have come this far, after having worked up from the local competitions and now, after winning gold at states, moving onto nationals.
The competition portion can be stressful, she said, having judges watch over her while she works.
"You just have to try your best and continue doing what you've been practicing this whole year," Plunkert added.
Seniors Nora Sanchez and Taran McNulty took gold in TV/Video Production, which required them to create a 30-second video in six hours after receiving a prompt.
Sanchez, whose home school is Liberty High School, said in those six hours, she and McNulty had to come up with a concept, write a script, film video and edit it.
"It really taught me a lot of time management because in the beginning, we were getting kind of stressed out," Sanchez said. "In the beginning, everyone was already out filming while we were still writing our script, and we thought we were getting really behind."
But, she said, in the end, they pulled it all together, and were able to come away on top.
McNulty said she learned to work more independently because, unlike in class, if they had any questions or technical problems, they couldn't get help from a teacher.
"We had to figure it out by ourselves," she added.
Sanchez said she didn't participate in SkillsUSA last year, so getting to go this year and making it to nationals is "pretty exciting."
Eckles said this event is wonderful for students, because like any other competition, it builds teamwork, camaraderie and school spirit.
But, Eckles said, while SkillsUSA is great for the kids, it's also an important event for the school because it allows for networking. CCPS can go and see what other schools are doing, he said.
"It gives us the chance to see how other schools are approaching these things," he added.
To help raise money to send students to nationals, the Tech Center will have a SkillsUSA breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 9. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children, Susan Hopkins, assistant principal at the Tech Center, said. Anyone interesting in donating or sponsoring a student to help them get to nationals can also call the school at 410-751-3669, she said.
Cassidy Bichner, American Spirit; Emily Canfield, American Spirit; Holly Knight, American Spirit; Jeanine Kent, Baking; Lauren Conaway, Bulletin Board, Lauren Jenne, Bulletin Board; Clare Preston, Bulletin Board; Julie Plunkert, Cosmetology; Mason McKechnie, Diesel; Alec Rosinski, Digital Cinema; Jacob Rosinski, Digital Cinema; Megan Alisauckas, Engineering; Grace DiGate, Engineering; Grace Reinartz, Engineering; Julia Meassick, Graphic Communication; Wyatt Abend, HVAC; Rebecca Richardson, Job Interview; Alexander Cochran, Robotics; Ryan Tunkel, Robotics; Taran McNulty, TV/Video Production; Nora Sanchez, TV/Video Production;
Taylor Carter, Ad Design; Christian Hauffman, Carpentry; Connor Woodburn, Culinary Arts; Charles Linton, Diesel; Emily Gallagher, Graphic Communication; Kahlyn Eckles, Prepared Speech; Lauren Brock, Screen Printing; Benjamin Spang; T-shirt Design
Angela Turner, Ad Design; Ryan Kasza, Collision Repair; Samuel Coibion, Digital Cinema; Evan Meyers, Digital Cinema; Natalia Stanger, Pin Design; Kody Garvick, Welding Fabrication; Tyler Masters, Welding Fabrication; Dalton Yingling, Welding Fabrication