SkillsUSA Students Seek Support For National Competition

NEWARK – Students at Worcester Technical High School are seeking community support as they prepare for the SkillsUSA National Championship.

Worcester Tech’s SkillsUSA program has launched a fundraising campaign to help cover the cost of sending nearly two dozen students to the national competition in Atlanta. Richard Stephens, SkillsUSA advisor at Worcester Tech, said the trip gives students a chance to showcase their skills and meet people within their prospective industries.

“The SkillsUSA National Championship allows for networking opportunities that could even land a student a job,” Stephens said. “SkillsUSA brings in businesses from around the country that are hiring.”

Stephens, longtime coordinator of Worcester Tech’s SkillsUSA program, was thrilled to bring more than 70 students to the SkillsUSA Maryland State Championships in March to compete in 37 different contests. Forty-one of those students finished in the top three in their divisions. Those who finished first are now able to compete in the SkillsUSA National Championship in Atlanta June 18-24.

“We are very proud of our students because they’ve competed at the state level and earned the honor to go to nationals because they were the best in the state,” Stephens said.

The trip is expensive, however, and Worcester Tech is now collecting donations from anyone interested in helping students pay for the nearly week-long trip.

In addition to the first-place winners who will be competing, the school is also hoping to send student Patrick Haines, who was elected to serve as a state officer in SkillsUSA, as well as student Adelaide Weber, who was elected to be a voting delegate to represent the SkillsUSA Maryland delegation.

“The students are extremely excited,” Stephens said. “We are starting a massive fundraising campaign to help fund the 19 students along with the SkillsUSA advisors that will be attending the weeklong event.”

Though the SkillsUSA program is primarily for high school students, there are a few middle school competitions. This year Worcester County will be sending five middle school students to nationals. Cecilia Diehlmann and Catrinia Donmoyer of Stephen Decatur Middle School will compete in mobile robotics while Stephen Decatur Middle’s Asher Nichols and Nidhish Gupta will compete in robotics search and rescue. Aaliyah Drummond of Pocomoke Middle School will compete in pin design.

Stephens, who says the program is returning to its pre-pandemic participation levels this year, is hopeful that fundraising will ensure that all eligible students will be able to attend the national event. Participating in SkillsUSA competitions, both locally and nationally, helps prepare students for successful careers after high school.

“Taking part in the SkillsUSA program not only teaches important life skills but gives students the chance to meet their peers across the state and even the country and prepare for life beyond high school,” he said.

The Worcester Tech SkillsUSA Chapter this year earned the Skills USA Chapter of Excellence Award for the sixth time as well as the Skills USA National Silver Chapter of Excellence Award.

For information on how to donate, reach out to Stephens at 410-632-5050.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.