Kids competing

Worcester Technical High School SkillsUSA members, Tyquan Briedell, 17, left, and Kevin Rodriguez, 15, prepare for the upcoming na- tional competition, held June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

(June 21, 2019) Members of Worcester Technical High School’s SkillsUSA chapter are preparing for the national SkillsUSA Championships next week in Louisville, Kentucky.

The SkillsUSA Championships will take place from June 24-28. The team took home awards from a state competition and earned a national level Chapter of Excellence in April. 

“They’ve competed at the state level and earned the honor to go [to nationals] because they were the best in the state,” said Rick Stephens, lead SkillsUSA advisor for Worcester Tech. “We’re very proud of that.”

Stephens said roughly 6,000 students from across the country would participate in next week’s event, with 300 of them coming from Maryland. 

“Worcester Tech has a very good reputation of doing well in these contests at nationals,” he said.

Of those 300 Marylanders, 29 Worcester Technical High School students will compete in 10 different contests, ranging from engineering to extemporaneous speaking.

Stephens clarified that several students are coming from Snow Hill and Pocomoke middle schools. A Pocomoke Middle School eighth grader will participate in a pin design competition that requires the student to design a pin for the state of Maryland.

 “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.

Rick Stephens

Rick Stephens, lead SkillsUSA advisor for Worcester Tech

Stephens said a chapter display competition involves building a “big display that represents SkillsUSA and how it ties into education.”

Chapter Display competitors are Tyquan Briedell, 17, and Kevin Rodriguez, 15. 

“[I’m] hoping that we do a great job … [and] at least we put our all into it,” Briedell said. 

Briedell and Rodriguez are first-time competitors, but agree that they’re looking forward to visiting a new city and meeting other teens across the nation. 

“Some of these kids have never traveled outside the region,” Stephens said.

Rodriquez added he’s been scoping out the competition online and is learning more about “everyone else’s project[s].”

Stephens added the championship allows for networking opportunities that could even land a student a job. 

“SkillsUSA brings in businesses [from] around country that are hiring,” he said.

Stephens, who also serves on the board of directors for SkillsUSA chapter in Maryland, said he’s proud of how his students conduct themselves. 

“A lot of times I get compliments … about how well rounded our kids are and how well behaved they are and how they interact with other kids,” Stephens said. “[It’s] just the pride that they carry within themselves.”

Stephens said he hopes the students participating in next week’s contest will never forget the experience.

“It really does leave a lasting impact on former students … that went to nationals. They’re like, ‘that was like one of the best times of my life. I’ll always remember that,’” Stephens said.

Stephens also said the club needed to raise $58,000 for the competition. As of last Friday afternoon, he said they still needed about $8,000.

Anyone interested in donating should contact co-advisors Crystal Bunting and Tammy Hearne by calling the school at 410-632-5050.

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