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Rosa the Dancer
Rosa the Dancer
May 25, 2024

Bearcat Victories at SkillsUSA


Brown takes silver at Kentucky nationals.

The Kentucky sun blares down, yet skilled students are sheltered by spacious walls and tall roofs. All bodies lay decidedly focused on their craft, skilled hands working hard and adept brains working harder. Out of 200 Bearcat competitors from the SkillsUSA Regionals back in February, 8 of them made the jump to July nationals, experiencing this firsthand — and oh, what a jump it was.


The weeklong event, officially dubbed the “National Leadership and Skills Conference” (NLSC), took place in Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), spanning from June 24 to June 28. More than 6,000 students competed in 100 competitions involving different trade and leadership fields, all trying to put out their best work in order to climb the ranks and place as high as possible. Our Bearcats competed in 7 different categories: Mason Brown in Telecommunications Cabling, John Nash in Plumbing, Zac Alves in Welding, Maddie Harris in First Aid/CPR, Avery Thompson and Liz Phillips in Web Design, Aline Gonzales in Basic Health Care, and Clinton Marsh in Electrical Construction Wiring.

For the awards ceremony, students filed into the vast Freedom Hall within the KEC, seats dappling every corner to accommodate for the large event. All sat in wait to see who struck champion gold in the eyes of the judges.


Brown, who had been a junior upon competing and will be a senior this school year, is one of those champions. He won second place overall in his competition, trouncing 30 skilled competitors from across the whole nation. Brown has been doing SkillsUSA for three years, and he has learned a lot of trade skills and experience from it. He’s stated that he’s been “injected into both local and national organizations that could possibly lead to high paying jobs in the workforce in the future.” On his stunning victory, he said “it was really satisfying after 3 years of work, finally being recognized for it was one of my life’s best moments.”


Phillips, who placed 13th alongside Thompson in their competition, says that “being involved with Skills has made me see that there’s so many different jobs and careers out there I had never heard of or considered before, and a lot of them are really high paying.” Although she isn’t leaning towards a career in web design, she stated that competing in it has taught her many other skills, much like Brown’s experience with the program.


Randy Canaday, coordinator for PRHS’s SkillsUSA region and advisor for our chapter, says that “all in all, we had a good showing for a west coast school. Many of these students at NLSC are in tech high schools. They spend 3 to 4 hours more per day in their pathway classes than our students are able to spend.”


“It’s a pretty amazing organization,” Phillips says about SkillsUSA. “There’s a lot of people involved and so much planning at every level. Mr. Canaday does a lot since he’s the one in charge of our region.”Canaday wants to thank all sponsors from the community, businesses and individuals alike, who support the program.

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