From March 11 through 13, I attended the SkillsUSA Georgia High School Division conference and Career Expo in Atlanta. It’s hard for me to believe, but this conference becomes more impressive every year. There were almost 6,500 attendees including over 4,600 students and 815 teachers. They had 260 companies involved in the Construction, Transportation and Public Safety Career Expo, and the entire convention center floor was filled with contests surrounded by areas of exhibits called “worlds” such as World of Energy, World of Manufacturing and so on. The state bused in students from area schools during the two days of the event, and, this year, the superintendent of schools attended. And, there were over 1,300 industry representatives involved in the contests, as exhibitors or as volunteers and guests. SkillsUSA Georgia does a great job with the SkillsUSA branding too with lots of faces of champions on their materials. Congratulations go to Corporate Member “Sonny” Cannon and to State Association Director Gayle Silvey. They and the Georgia team are doing an amazing job.
Thanks to State Association Director Toni Decklever, I had some very productive meetings with the 11-member Wyoming board of directors, March 19 through 21, in Casper. The board has a good balance of industry representatives, teachers and administrators. I did some board training, and then, we plowed right through a strategic plan for next year. The draft plan was in their hands last week.
- The final membership count won’t be official until April, but as of March 24, we have already exceeded last year’s total paid membership by 4,800 members! That means SkillsUSA will have another record-breaking membership year. Congratulations and thanks to all of the state association directors for making this possible.
- National staff is definitely on the road visiting the states. I just mentioned my recent visits to Georgia and Wyoming. Other staff members have recently visited – or will soon visit – Vermont, Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arizona, California, Missouri, Florida and North Dakota. Every visit is a joy.
- And, finally, I’d like to conclude with 12 highlights from the FY10 second quarter shared with the board last week:
- Membership at an all-time high of 311,079 (including alumni)
- Engineering Alliance launched February 22
- Alumni membership grew to over 8,600
- 27 Skill Connect Assessments with 19 on deck and the vulnerable community report complete
- Final Technical Advisory Committee meeting for Champions for Change held at OVAE and third-party report given
- Staff realignment to better focus staff efforts
- Lowe’s Campus Improvement and Community Service grants announced
- All levels of PDP Online are complete
- Newell-Rubbermaid support for ASK and ASK launch
- 12 State Farm Sustainability Showcase grants announced
- Teacher, state director and student Webinars held
- Inclusion and diversity training for staff and national officers
SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will take place on Wednesday, June 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in connection with TECHSPO. This program will be similar to the TV show where participants are challenged to perform various tasks and move quickly through the TECHSPO territory in order to learn more about exhibitors and win prizes. In addition, SkillsUSA’s Amazing Race will provide interactive fun for students and adults. The passport will be distributed through the state delegation conference materials included at the registration appointment at the beginning of the week. Participants will be challenged to find different SkillsUSA products in exhibit booths throughout the show in designated TECHSPO booths. Once at the correct booth, participants must either perform a task or duty in order to qualify for a stamp on their passport cards. There are two roadblocks included in the race. Each roadblock will delay the participant and require a bit more effort to earn the stamp. After completing pit stops 1-11 (out of 12), the participant must report to the 12th and final destination and turn in the card at the last booth. The race will conclude at the SkillsUSA Alumni booth where membership will be encouraged. Prizes will be distributed at the alumni booth to participants who complete the race. There is a limited quantity of prizes, so it will be important to complete the race in a timely manner.
We need your help with the National Courtesy Corps annual auction. The Auction Committee is collecting items and will hold an auction on June 25th to raise money to help support the National Courtesy Corps. As you may know, the Courtesy Corps members work all week at the conference in many areas helping set up/tear down, run errands and assist the conference management committees and national staff wherever needed.
If you have items that you would like to donate to sell at the auction, please either mail them to the attention of: NCC Auction, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176, or take them with you to the conference and drop them at Courtesy Corps headquarters in Lobby 3500. All instructors are encouraged to donate items, possibly student projects from your schools.
Please also plan to attend the auction and join in the fun. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so be sure and clean out your closets and garages and send us some treasures.
One of our dedicated advisors, Chauncey Kila, Masonry Instructor at Tulsa Technology Center-Lemley wrote a poem about the competition season and we thought it would be nice to share it with you.
Twas the night before contest and all through the place
The students were anxious and had doubt on their face
They worked late into the night
To get things just right
Knowing that tomorrow is the big fight
That night as they lay down their head to rest
Dreams of becoming the Nation’s best
Suddenly morning arrives with a blink of an eye
It is time to be noticed and not to be shy
Practice is over it is time to be great
To show those judges why they are the best in their state
It is a time to remember and a time to reflect
It is a time where hard work gets all the respect
Suddenly it is over and you have given it your all
Some will rise and some will fall
Awards will be given to those at the top of their game
A sea of red jackets anticipating the calling of their name
Medals are given for first, second, and third place
No award is greater than the look on mom’s face
Self-worth is not measured by performance alone
It is the human emotion that sets the tone
A sense of accomplishment that is beautiful and bold
Changing the lives in the young and the old
Pride has taken over where fear once stayed
SkillsUSA is where champions are made.