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Northeast students shine at national SkillsUSA competition

Northeast students shine at national SkillsUSA competition

LOUISVILLE, KY – Northeast Community College students displayed their skills on a national stage – and for some, it was worth its weight in gold. The students competed in the 54th National Leadership and Skills Conference, sponsored by SkillsUSA, in Louisville, KY, along with thousands of students and advisors from across the country.

The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. This is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 20 football fields. More than 19,000 people - including students, teachers and business partners - participated in the weeklong event.

Four Northeast, broadcasting students Kaylee Dankert, Pierce, Luke Jacobsen, Neligh, Henry Hagge, Bloomfield, and Dustyn Stortzum, Silver Creek, took the first place gold medal in the collegiate Broadcast News Production category. It is the first gold medal earned by any Northeast students at the national Skills USA competition.

The contest included a written knowledge exam assessing news terminology, direction terminology, technical direction terminology, floor direction terminology, news ethics, newsroom personnel, scripting, and on-air etiquette. The skills portion included design, development, and delivery of a newscast production in a simulated environment.

The team from Tulsa Technology Center – Riverside in Tulsa, OK, placed second, and the team from Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, MO, was third.

This team has great synergy,” said Brian Anderson, Northeast media arts instructor. “They have always had great communication, and that's exactly what the judges told them both on-site and in their review. (The judges) said their team work skills were very high. I think the class size at Northeast had a lot to do with that. Students in our program get to know each other very well."  

Anderson is proud of his students.

“They spent a lot of nights and long hours practicing in our studio, getting ready for both state and national competition. They wanted the win from the very beginning, and their commitment showed. This recognition will be a good tool for them to put in their toolbox when applying for positions in their field of study. It will really stand out on a resume."

The winning broadcast may be viewed on You Tube at

In the collegiate (computer) internetworking category, Jesse Wiseman, Homer, earned the silver medal, which is also a first for Northeast.

The contest consisted of three parts: a troubleshooting problem, an online written test, and end-to-end networking hands-on evaluation. A student from the College of Western Idaho in Nampa, ID, was first while a student from Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton, OK, placed third.

In addition, Northeast earned two bronze medals at the national competition. Calvin Craig, Norfolk, and Cody Greenwood, North Bend, secured a bronze in Robotics: Search and Rescue, while Gene Kumm, Osmond, received the medal for his work in Industrial Motor Control.

The contest included a knowledge exam, and utilizing a remote controlled robot (built by the two-person team prior to the competition) to locate, grab, and move ordinance through a course with multiple challenges.

The team from Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC, took first place, and a team from Tennessee College of Applied Technology from Whiteville, TN, was second.

Brad Vogt, information technology (IT) instructor, said Wiseman, Craig, Greenwood, and Kumm are examples as to the caliber of students enrolled in Northeast’s IT program.

“We are really fortunate to have such hard working students. They come in and work with a purpose in the classroom. These may be the best that we have who attended a national competition, but we have other students who are as equally talented.”

Other Northeast students who competed in the national competition included, Dylan Barg, Norfolk, Automotive Refinishing Technology; Drew Eskins, Crofton, Electrical Construction Wiring; Patrick Kosmacek, Stanton, Computer Programming; Francisco Nuno, Wayne, Information Technology Services; Landen Scheffler, Madison, Audio/Radio Production; Joseph Stellato, Norfolk, Automotive Service Technology; Tanner Stelling, Milford, Architectural Drafting; Noah Wilcox, Norfolk, Audio/Radio Production; and Austin Zoucha, Albion, Sheet Metal.

The students were accompanied by Dr. Wade Herley, dean of business and technology at Northeast, and instructors Richard Chrisman (information technology), Tony Hoffman (electrical construction and control), Dave Beaudette (auto body), Tom Hoile (auto body), Lynette Frey (drafting) and Anderson.

Herley said he was very proud of Northeast’s accomplishments at the national competition.

“The students were well prepared to compete at the national level, and that is a direct reflection of the programs and the instructors we have at Northeast Community College. The support the college and the instructors provided for our students was second to none at nationals in Kentucky.”

The Northeast students qualified for the national competition at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference held this spring in Grand Island.

Herley said Northeast had good representation at nationals with 17 students and seven advisors, which is critical to contend for any medals.

“SkillsUSA truly does match the best of the best against one another at the national level. You have to realize each student who reaches the national competition had to earn their spot by competing against the best in their state,” he said. “The state competitions may have two competitors or they may have fifty, so when you think of one of the competitions at nationals has thirty competitors, most of those students had to compete against thirty in their respective states - it really clarifies how competitive SkillsUSA can be.”

The philosophy of the SkillsUSA Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs. Students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure a skilled workforce and helping each student succeed. A national student organization that serves students in high schools and college/technical schools, it provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.


2018 SkillsUSA Collegiate Broadcast News Production

Gold - Northeast Community College, Norfolk, NE (Henry Hagge, Luke Jacobsen, Kaylee Dankert, Dustyn Stortzum)
Silver - Tulsa Technology Center-Riverside, Tulsa, OK (Nancy Boyd, Parker Hutchins-Cates, Brett Neace, Sarah Veroxie)
Bronze - Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield, MO (Noah Davidson, Matthew Williams, Darrel Dugger, Cody Friend)

2018 SkillsUSA Collegiate Internetworking

Gold - College of Western Idaho, Nampa, ID (Andrew Hoy)
Silver - Northeast Community College, Norfolk, NE (Jesse Wiseman)
Bronze - Great Plains Technology Center-Lawton, Lawton, OK (Aaron R. Conn)

2018 SkillsUSA Collegiate Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue

Gold - Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC (Aaron Haymore, Willard Sheets)
Silver - Tennessee College of Applied Tech-Whiteville, Whiteville, TN (Carter Hosey, Logan McCommon)
Bronze - Northeast Community College, Norfolk, NE (Calvin Craig, Cody Greenwood)

2018 SkillsUSA Collegiate Industrial Motor Control

Gold - College of Tech, Lancaster, PA (Thaddeus Stevens)
Silver - Calhoun Community College, Decatur, AL (Jeremy Gann)
Bronze - Northeast Community College, Norfolk, NE (Gene Kumm)



                                                                     PHOTO CUTLINE


Dustyn Stortzum, Silver Creek, strikes the Superman pose in front of 16,000 people during the closing ceremonies of the 2018 Skills USA competition in Louisville, KY, as Kaylee Dankert, Pierce, (right) looks on. Stortzum, Dankert and their Northeast Community College teammates Luke Jacobsen, Neligh, and Henry Hagge, Bloomfield, won the first place gold medal in the collegiate Broadcast News Production category at the competition. It is the first gold medal earned by any Northeast students at the national Skills USA event.