Local students compete in SkillsUSA

By Bedford Minuteman

Eighteen students from Shawsheen Tech recently attended the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky where they competed in a variety of skill areas including basic health care, health knowledge bowl, screen printing, technical computer applications, entrepreneurship, team works, and residential wiring.

Joining our team were two state gold medal winners whose contests did not have a national contest; Burlington’sEmily Ovesen, a junior in cosmetology, and Bedford resident Grace Clark, a sophomore from the masonry program.

While at Nationals, Emily attended some of the briefings and observed the competitors in the cosmetology over 500 hours contest, which will help her prepare for competition next year.

Grace competed at the state level in non-traditional Portfolio. This is a contest that requires students from non-traditional trades to create and present a program for seventh and eighth grade students describing what it is like to work in a non-traditional program.

She described her journey, starting with her entry into Shawsheen, through the completion of the Explore Program leading to her choice of masonry, a traditionally male dominated industry, as her shop choice. Grace presented her program to students who attended Shawsheen’s Project Explore program during the winter and spring sessions.

While at Nationals, Grace attended several delegate sessions, observing first-hand the process a candidate goes through to be elected to national office. She enjoyed this leadership position so much she has hopes of running for SkillsUSA Massachusetts state office next school year.

Ten students placed sixth place or higher in competitions, including one first place finisher. Megan Brown, a junior in the Health Assisting program from Billerica, earned a gold medal in Basic Health Care Skills, with a total score of 958/1000.

Megan’s competition consisted of a written knowledge test, a presentation on blood typing, an oral interview as well as different hands on stations. These stations included demonstrating skills in calculating a patient’s total fluid intake and output, taking and documenting vital signs, and the application of sterile gloves.

The Health Knowledge Bowl team earned a fourth place finish. The team consisted of senior Sarah Constantino from Tewksbury, juniors Michelle Chen from Wilmington and Elaina Cobb of Billerica, and sophomore Leah Veloz from Tewksbury.

Health Knowledge Bowl is a competition where students from health programs answer health related questions in a jeopardy-like format. Questions are taken from USA Today’s Health section as well as from standard curriculum. Students must know a host of health topics ranging from diseases and anatomy to safety and ethics.

Also finishing fourth was Shaunna Ford from Billerica, a junior in the Graphic Communications program who competed in screen printing. This two-day competition tested Shaunna’s skills in screen coating, inspection, and tensioning on day one and print inspection, registration and the ability to print six perfect six-color shirts in seven minutes on day two. This contest was a tight one, with Shaunna scoring six points away from a perfect score.

Coming in sixth place was the team made up of plumber James Alagna and carpenter Conor Roy, both seniors from Billerica, electrician Jessica Cacciola, a senior from Tewksbury and mason Madison Musto, a junior from Wilmington.

These students competed in Team Works, a grueling four-day contest that brings together a plumber, carpenter, electrician, and mason and challenges them to construct a one room dwelling. They were given plans to build the dwelling that required plumbing and electricity, it had to be sided with a window and roof as well as a brick faced foundation.

Hero of the week went to Maddie Musto who smashed her finger with a hammer on day one, but never once left the competition.

Competing in technical computer applications was Billerica senior Ben Quattrocchi who graduated from the office technology program this year. His competition consisted of working with the Microsoft application suite setting up and troubleshooting documents as well as configuring operating systems. Ben also had to demonstrate proficiency in networking and troubleshooting application problems as they arose.

This article provided by NewsEdge.