(July 19, 2019) Worcester Technical High School’s SkillsUSA team had much to celebrate after competing in the organization’s national championship last month in Louisville, Kentucky.
Among the team members who placed in the top 10 was Piper Gooding. She won a silver medal in the middle school pin design competition.
“Honestly, it was really surprising for me because I’m sort of new to the graphic design area … so I was really surprised that I was able to make it so far along and be able to go to Kentucky,” Gooding said.
Gooding said she was inspired by the iconic Ocean City Boardwalk and wanted to incorporate it in her design.
The landmark is an important piece of her childhood, she said, so she wanted to showcase it to other competitors and judges across the nation.
When working on the overall aesthetic, Gooding said she first designed the concept in a word document. However, Gooding noted she was a graphic design novice, but with assistance from teachers, she taught herself programs, including Illustrator, to create the pin.
“It was really fun to make because it was my first time ever doing something like this,” she said.
Gooding, a rising high school freshman at Pocomoke High School, said she also plans to take graphic design courses at Worcester Technical High School.
“I’ve always loved to draw and do art … and be creative, so this is kind of like a way for me to do that, and just to make an ability out of it, and to have fun with it,” she said.
Gooding also said she thinks competitions like SkillsUSA are important “because it gives certain kids an opportunity to display their talents.”
Gooding appreciated the opportunity to network with other students during the conference and she even made a few friends.
“I really enjoyed meeting the different people from all over the country. It was really fun to … talk to them and make connections and find people with similar interests,” she said.
Rick Stephens, lead SkillsUSA advisor for Worcester Technical High School, agreed.
“One of the things that they do is they trade pins … and … they make a lot of friends trading pins with other states, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got good contacts,” he said prior to the competition.
In addition to pin design, students competed in several fields including robotics, automotive technology, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.
Of the more than 6,500 students from across the country who participated, 27 Worcester Technical High School students competed in contests ranging from engineering to extemporaneous speaking.
The following students placed in the top 10 for their competitions:
• Brandon Anderson, Ethan Gell, Justin Hurney – fifth in the middle school team engineering challenge.
• Michael Brittingham, Kaleb Steele and Trevor Hudson – sixth in the occupational health and safety scrapbook.
• Candy and Joy Anderson – ninth in the community action project.
The following students also participated in the conference: Alexis DuVall (national voting delegate); Summer Bowden, Delaney William, Hayden Gable (career pathways - human services team); Josselyne Maza-Chavez (extemporaneous speaking); Daniel Juarez and Russell Warren (mobile robotics team); Noam Katna, Caitlyn McLeavey, Nicole Saldana-Aldazabal, Noah Selt, Jazmine Garcia, Zayda Hamm and Erica Hicks (opening and closing teams); Maxx Spicer, Kevin Rodiguez and Tyquan Briddell (chapter display team); and Ethan Wisner (power equipment technology).
Additionally, students had the opportunity to showcase their skills to numerous businesses, corporations, trade associations, and unions, according to SkillsUSA officials.
Stephens also said he was pleased with the students’ performances during the national competition.
“Any time you have students finish in the top three, and win medals, and have other students placed in the top 10 of the nation is awesome,” Stephens said.
Students in middle school, high school and postsecondary programs were permitted to participate in the conference.
The Worcester Tech team took home awards from a state competition and earned a national level Chapter of Excellence in April.
“This showcase of career and technical education demonstrates our SkillsUSA partnership at its finest,” Executive Director Tim Lawrence stated in a press release. “Our students, instructors and industry partners work together to ensure that every student excels. This program expands learning and career opportunities for our members.”