MCTEC students win big at SkillsUSA competition

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Mercer County Technical Education Center saw 37 students come out victorious in 20 different competitions at the SkillsUSA West Virginia competition held at Fairmont State University. 17 students won gold, 7 won silver and 13 won bronze medals for their efforts.

Mercer County’s representatives squared off in a number of areas including dental assisting, early childhood education and marketing.

“We had entrepreneurship so we came up with a business and had all the logistics and everything and presented it to a group of judges,” said marketing gold medalist, Bradley McKenzie.

“It was an auto detailing business and we were located in Princeton. We were kind of different from the regular ones because we had two mobile ones and a brick and mortar,” said marketing gold medalist, Hannah Browning.

Both McKenzie and Browning were able to snag gold medals in their first year as entrants in the skills testing. For others, it was their second crack at the competition and they emerged with medals. Both Emma Furches and Kaitlyn Taylor won bronze medals last year but stepped into the gold medal winner’s circle this year.

“I went into it thinking that I was super prepared because I had done it once before and I had really studied up on everything that we did last year. Once we got there the judges explained that the format was completely different. But I still think the work that I did to prepare myself paid off in the end, obviously,” said Furches, who competed in the early childhood education competition.

“I had more time this year, more hands on. I had a lot more time to study this year. Just more knowledge this year, I was more knowledgeable. I put in a lot of effort. I stayed after school sometimes,” said Taylor who won gold in adult dental assisting.

One of the main competition coordinators at MCTEC says the planning took a lot of effort but adds it was more than worthwhile to see the student’s succeed.

“It means a lot to me because the value of our trades is the future of our economy. Our kids, a lot of them are college bound but some of them are not and getting them a certificate and getting recognition in a trade is invaluable in their careers,” said MCTEC Skills Advisor, Heather Lane.

Lane is also the marketing instructor at MCTEC.

In June all of the gold medalists will have the opportunity to compete in the nationals in Atlanta, Georgia, where they will face schools from across the U.S.