SkillsUSA brings district, state titles to PCHS

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

Winning is quickly becoming a habit at Pulaski County High School, and throughout the month of February its PCHS SkillsUSA chapter celebrated Career and Technical Education Month with victories at various levels of competition.

“We’re very excited with how well our students have performed in their areas of specialty,” said Julie Anderson, SkillsUSA adviser and cosmetology instructor. “We feel our program helps prepare our students not only for the workplace, but also for future leadership roles in the business world and community. We’re very proud of them all.”

Anderson also is lead Cosmetology teacher for Virginia Association of Technical and Industrial Educators (VATIE).

During SkillsUSA district competitions earlier this year, several students earned recognition and the opportunity to advance to the state Leadership and Skill Competition, which is in April.

Camielle Eller earned an eighth place finish in the cosmetology competition with her fantasy mannequin. She now advances to the state level.

Jantzyn Alley earned seventh place in related technical math and fourth place in cosmetology.

Christi Hopper took seventh in customer service. Emily Nester earned fifth place in spelling and Scarlett Armes finished third in customer service.

Haylee Coleman earned sixth place in spelling. Coleman, along with model Kaylee Corvin, also earned a fourth place finish in esthetics. She teamed up with model Emily Nester to also earn third place in job skill demonstration.

Several students received first-place finishes, earning them a trip to the state competition.

Alley finished first in the job interview category and in spelling.

The team of Coleman, Nester and Corvin earned first place for a promotional bulletin board, and the team of Alley, Corvin, Coleman, Hopper and Armes earned first place in the quiz bowl.

Junior Kaylee Corvin, who earned the position of 2017-18 state secretary for SkillsUSA, took home individual first place awards for customer service and extemporaneous speaking, and was also selected as Student of the Year.

With this honor, Corvin and another PCHS student will seek election as a 2018-19 SkillsUSA state officer. She has further plans to run for a National SkillsUSA office at the June meeting in Louisville, Ky.

“I think it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our instructors and students that they’ve performed to this level,” said Dr. Kevin Siers, superintendent of Pulaski County Schools. “We’re very excited about the success of our CTE and STEM programs … and we’re looking forward to making even more improvements to them in the coming years.”

Pulaski County School Board member Timothy Hurst was equally pleased with the development of the CTE and STEM programs in Pulaski County Public Schools.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that we can help prepare our students for the future this way,” he said. “We’re offering students the chance to leave high school with state certifications and licensing in several fields that have a clear pathway to not only financial stability, but also career advancement and leadership positions. It’s a win for our students, our schools and our community.”

“Not to brag, but we’ve got a great thing going here,” PCHS CTE Administrator and STEM Academy Director Mark Hanks said. “The wide range of courses that we’re offering here at PCHS is going to continue to grow. We’ve already added Cyber Security, Businesss Technology and now a Robotics club. When you add classes that prepare students for careers in welding, nursing, culinary arts, computer programing, carpentry, auto body repair and automotive repair and many others, we’re making our students that much more well-rounded.”

He said the program also is looking into building a pharmacy technician course next that will allow students to leave high school certified and licensed to immediately go into that field as well.”

During a recent visit of special guests from U.S. State Department, Hanks also had another very pleasant fact pointed out to him.

“As the reps were leaving they commented about how refreshing it is to see both male and female students mixed into all of the classes,” he said. “We have female students taking robotics, auto body and repair, criminal justice and many other courses that you normally associate with male students. We like to challenge our students to try new things and gain new experiences.”

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