Craven Community College (CCC) engineering student, Ross Schumann, took first place at the SkillsUSA state competition in Greensboro, N.C. in April. Schumann and his fellow students joined over 2,000 high school and college students at the annual convention. Schumann placed first in the category of extemporaneous speaking where students gave a three-to-five minute speeches on an assigned topic after only five minutes of preparation.
Other CCC students who also placed in the competition include mechanical engineering student Thomas Smith, cosmetology student Elizabeth Snider, cosmetology student Laura Willis, and mechanical engineering student Riley Horne. In addition to recognition, winning colleges receive equipment and supplies donated by SkillsUSA supporters such as Lowe’s Home Improvement and Irwin Industrial Tools.
Forty-nine years ago VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) was formed, but is now known as SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit organization that assists high schools and colleges in preparing students for trade, technical, and skilled services occupations. More than 300,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA annually. The organization has grown into one of the largest student groups in the country.
“Our SkillsUSA chapter had its very first chapter meeting in January, so having students do well at the state competition was a great accomplishment,” said Ricky Meadows, CCC chair of industrial, transportation and service programs, and chapter advisor. Meadows is joined by other faculty as SkillsUSA chapter advisors including welding instructor Eric Braddy, cosmetology instructor Patricia Batten, electronics engineering instructor Gary Long, and automotive instructor Walter Hurst.
As a first-place winner, Schumann is now qualified to go to SkillUSA’s 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo., June 23-28, where over 6,000 students will compete. Schumann said SkillsUSA has made him more confident when he meets new people and conveys his ideas to others. “My involvement with the organization has prepared me extremely well,” said Schumann. Schumann was involved with SkillsUSA while at West Carteret High School where he served as a state officer. Schumann was eager to help CCC launch its SkillsUSA chapter when we started at the college in fall 2013.
“It is a phenomenal accomplishment to place at the state conference, and to have a student qualify to represent North Carolina at the national competition. The fact that CCC has done this in their first year of involvement really attests to the quality of students and faculty that they have,” said Peyton Holland, post-secondary director for SkillsUSA North Carolina. Holland says that students competed against the best of the best from colleges across the state. “The support of CCC’s administration, faculty and academic programs were essential to their success and are exactly what we look for in an ideal SkillsUSA college chapter,” said Holland.
CCC’s SkillsUSA student chapter is actively recruiting members and seeking community support for the national competition and for the chapter. For more information, contact Meadows at 252-638-4550.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
(Photo caption): (L-R) Craven Community College (CCC) student and SkillsUSA state competition first-place winner Ross Schumann stands with Ricky Meadows, CCC’s chair of industrial, transportation and service programs and SkillsUSA chapter faculty advisor.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.