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Northeast SkillsUSA students honored at state capitol ceremony

Northeast SkillsUSA students honored at state capitol ceremony

LINCOLN, Neb. – Northeast Community College students were honored during a special ceremony recently week in the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda in Lincoln. They joined other students from across the state during the 24th Annual Commissioner' s Recognition for Student Excellence in Career & Technical Education.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education, recognized college and high school students for outstanding achievement after each finished in top ten positions in their respective national competitions earlier this year.

Northeast students who competed in the National Skills USA competition earlier this year were recognized and received certificates during the ceremony. Brian Halstead, deputy commissioner at the Department of Education, and Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, served as keynote speakers. 

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The organization serves middle school, high school and college students in programs in preparing them for technical, skilled and service careers. It was originally founded as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. In 2004, the name was changed to SkillsUSA. Since 1965, the organization has served more than 13.5 million members. SkillsUSA enhances the lives and careers of students, instructors and industry representatives as they strive to be champions at work.

In April, Northeast students participated in the Nebraska SkillsUSA competition. In the competition, students in skilled and technical education science contests work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as automotive, building construction, computer-aided drafting, electronics, information technology, and welding. The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs.

At the state event in Grand Island, Northeast crowned 30 state champion gold medalists, 17 silver and nine bronze medalists and swept the medal platform in four categories. 

At the national SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta in June, Northeast Media Arts - Broadcasting team took the national championship in its division. In addition, eleven Northeast students earned silver and/or bronze medals in other categories including architectural drafting, automotive refinishing technology, crime scene investigation, and welding.

Northeast students who placed at the national competition and were recognized at the Lincoln ceremony included Tyler Earnest, Grand Island, in architectural drafting; Preston Paulson, Wayne, in automotive refinishing technology; Ervin Dohmen, Elgin, Alexander Kasten, Brandon, So. Dak., Conner Luebbe, Garland, Zane Thompson, Anselmo, in broadcast news production; Jake Bartosh, Arlington, Ryen Haines, Ansley, and Isaias Juarez, Neligh, in crime scene investigation; Ethan Lavelle, Western, in industrial motor control; Nicholas Frisch, Newman Grove, and Devon Unseld, Pierce, in mechatronics; Garrett Henery, Norfolk, and Tielan Kotrous, Norfolk, in robotics: urban search & rescue; and Hunter Howard, Meadow Grove, in welding. 

Other Northeast students competing in the national SkillsUSA competition were Weston Haskell, Colorado Springs, Colo., in carpentry; Zachary Mosier, Strang, in collision repair technology; Dean Orwig, Pierce, in electrical construction wiring; Brodie Christensen, Yankton, So. Dak., in HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration; Vaughn Finkral, Norfolk, in information technology services; Edward Olander, Winside, in masonry; Landon Bignell, Columbus, Kolby Dean, O’Neill, Aaron Disher, West Point, and Cooper Hilgenkamp, Arlington, in teamworks competition; and Nicholas Wood, Bertrand, in technical computer applications. 

Dr. Wade Herley, dean of business and humanities and SkillsUSA coordinator at Northeast, said he knew the team the College sent to nationals would do well, but admits they went beyond his expectations. 

“Every member of the Northeast national team finished in the top ten, and I would be willing to bet that is a very rare occurrence for any state or institution. The 2022 team should be extremely proud of their year and their accomplishments,” Herley said. “Our faculties’ commitment to the success of our students is second to none, and our students’ commitment to competing at the top level is simply incredible. I just cannot say enough about our ability to compete on the national stage, it is truly a reflection of outstanding teaching and learning. We are creating some of the very best skilled and technical students in the country.”

Other students recognized during the Commissioner's Recognition ceremony were in DECA, Educators Rising, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA and HOSA chapters from across Nebraska.


                                                                                                   PHOTO CUTLINE 

Northeast Community College students were among high school and college students from across Nebraska who were honored during the 24th Annual Commissioner's Recognition for Student Excellence in Career & Technical Education in the state capitol in Lincoln recently. Students pictured with Brian Halstead, deputy commissioner at the Nebraska Department of Education, and Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, are (from left) Tyler Earnest, Jake Bartosh, Ryen Haines, Isaias Juarez, Ethan Lavelle, and Hunter Howard.