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Skills raise relief funds after tsunami

Calvert Career Center in Prince Frederick, Md., held a fund-raiser to benefit the Samaritan Children’s Home in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, which was destroyed by the Dec. 26 tsunami. The orphans survived, but their housing compound was destroyed.

To raise funds, the carpentry classes made benches for a silent auction. The cosmetology classes sponsored a beauty services clinic and offered haircuts and blow-drys, shampoos and sets, plus facials, manicures and pedicures. The nursing classes did blood pressure screenings, and staff and students provided items for a bake sale. end of story

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Making their holidays bright

SkillsUSA Massachusetts officers, in conjunction with their state’s alumni association, held a holiday party for underprivileged children at the Boys and Girls Club of Cape Cod.

Children received hats, mittens and books collected during the state’s fall conference. The state officer team also raised $550 to purchase presents and hold an ice cream party. The alumni sponsored crafts activities, and the Massachusetts Air National Guard provided breakfast plus 25 pizzas for lunch. end of story

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Students televise PSAs on health and safety

To inform their school and community about important health and safety topics, the SkillsUSA chapter at Harris County High School in Hamilton, Ga., started creating short, televised public service announcements (PSAs).

Students research, write, produce and edit the segments, called “Medical Minutes.” The segments are shown on the morning news at the school and are televised by the local NBC affiliate on Saturday mornings.

What started in 2001 has become an ongoing Community Service project for the SkillsUSA chapter, earning them a silver medal at nationals in 2004.

“They’re health care science technology students,” explains instructor Phyllis Johnson. “So they all have an interest in the medical field, and we figured the best thing to do was community service that was related to their career interest.

“We originally started showing it on school news, and then a lot of the teachers said, ‘this is really good, y’all need to do something more with this.’ So I called some of the local TV stations. The NBC affiliate in Columbus is really good at looking at community service projects, and they sponsor a lot of things in the community, so I called, then went down and talked to them, and a producer wanted to meet the kids.”

Before the TV station started actually running the PSAs, they decided the project itself was a great story. A local talk show host interviewed the students and ran a couple of the Medical Minutes.

“The people just loved the Medical Minutes,” Johnson says. So, the chapter decided to create more.

“This whole year, we’ve sent tapes and they [the television station] helped with editing because we don’t have the equipment. They’ve been able to take our digital footage, do some editing, add a little music and credits at the end that say: ‘Harris County High School SkillsUSA Community Service Team.’”

Melissa Zuerner, Adam Johnson and Whitney Mixon appear in the PSAs while classmates help with cue cards, camera work and research. The group brainstorms for a topic, does some research and comes up with a loose idea of what point they’ll make with the PSA. Then they rough out what scenes they’re going to do and tape them as they go.

Most productions are just 60 seconds and cover topics relative to the time of year.

“We did one in the summer on sun safety and Adam’s in the background. The whole time I’m talking and explaining what you need to do ... like wear a hat, wear sunglasses,” Mixon explains. “He’s in the background, and the items are then thrown at him. He’s putting on a hat, and he’s globbing on the sunscreen. We do goofy things to get folks’ attention.”

They get the audience’s attention — so much so that they’re becoming local celebrities.

“You go and get your hair cut and people say they saw you on TV this morning. It’s a nice way to know that people are really watching,” Adam Johnson says.

Zuerner adds how they never thought their project would get them so much attention, but they just got things done one step at a time. “Ms. Johnson would point us in the direction of the bigwigs and tell us to talk to them. That’s how we’ve worked our way up. For each level you approach, you’ll meet someone at a higher level who will help you get to the next level. It was scary at first because we thought we’d get turned down, but it happened, and we are amazed.” end of story

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An accidental partnership

SkillsUSA students at West Point (Miss.) Career and Technology Center set out to hold a five-day loose change drive for the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund. The class collecting the most was to be rewarded with pizza. Enter new partners. When contacted about the reward, Domino’s Pizza staff said they’d donate 20 percent of a day’s sales to West Point High School’s Interact Club.

When members of the local Rotary International learned of those efforts, they agreed to match Domino’s 20 percent. Next, the SkillsUSA students decided to add their take to the till, and that total was then matched by Domino’s headquarters for a grand total of $4,311. end of story

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Bears, because they care

SkillsUSA students at Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas, wanted to show support for the children at neighboring Clear Creek Elementary School whose parents had been deployed to active duty from nearby Fort Hood. With the Health Occupations Students of America members from another high school, the SkillsUSA students collected approximately 400 teddy bears for the children.

The toy bears, donated by local businesses and the student organizations, were later distributed during an assembly at the elementary school. According to SkillsUSA advisor Brenda Drawdy, the event, known as “Bears Because We Care,” was part of Texas’ Celebrate Freedom Week. end of story

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Fund-raisers help one of their own

The SkillsUSA chapter at Apollo Career Center in Lima, Ohio, has raised more than $11,000 to help the school’s history teacher, Kim Hawk, cover the expense of her 2-year-old daughter Abby’s treatment of neuroblastoma.

Fund-raisers have included dress-down days, a festival of bands, a dance, candy sales and direct donations.

Following six months of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Abby traveled with her mother to Presbyterian Hospital in New York, where surgeries have begun to remove the tumors. end of story

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Standards seeking the best in every student

Now in its second full year, SkillsUSA’s Chapter StandardsProgram helps every student member learn, improve as an individual and prepare for employment.

The online, interactive program helps instructors track students’ growth and meet local and state requirements for standards. Those who enroll receive special recognition and benefits from SkillsUSA, including a certificate, a decal for display in their classrooms, and educational resources and materials.

To tour this free program, visit and click on the “Chapter Standards” link.

Participants 2004-2005

Alabama: Sherri Cunningham, Calhoun County Career Technical School, Jacksonville; Steve Icenogle, Enterprise High School; Vechatia Riley, W.P. Davidson High School, Mobile; Jean Stewart, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College MacArthur Campus, Opp

Alaska: Ray Jensen, Wasilla High School

Arizona: Nick Bonds, Centennial High School, Peoria; Chris Romiti, Central Arizona College, Winkelman

Arkansas: Tracey Bell, Turrell High School; Shelli Mitchell, Russellville Area Vo-Tech; Verna Seawood, Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute, Forrest City; Becky Stacy, Pine Bluff High School; Randy Wiedmaier, Benton High School

California: Gale Dunham, Duncan Polytechnical High School, Fresno; Aaron Kahlenberg, Kennedy High School, Granada Hills; Trent Munsey, Ayala High School, Chino Hills; Mark Neal and Saundra Neal, Mission Trails ROP, Salinas; Victor Schiro, Bloomington High School

Florida: James Dieter, Sarasota County Technical Institute, Sarasota; Deborah Kenn, Lyman High School, Longwood; William Mann, Lake Technical Center, Eustis

Georgia: Margo Booth, Central Educational Center, Newnan; Marcus Calsor, Buford High School; Barbara Coleman, Monroe Comprehensive High School, Albany; Dwain Evans, Mary Persons High School, Forsyth; Scott Holtzclaw, Jackson County High School, Gainesville; Melanie Patrick, Dalton High School; Cheryl Rees, Kendrick High School, Columbus; Kevin Spell, Lamar County High School, Griffin; W. Ward, McEachern High School, Marietta; Annette Williams, Carver High School, Columbus

Idaho: Cleon Chapman, Blackfoot High School; Sue Lindsay, Skyview High School, Nampa

Illinois: Cathy Roberts, Bloomington Area Vocational Center

Iowa: Diane Klenk, Herbert Hoover Junior Senior High School, Toledo

Kansas: Rick Anderson and Rod Zinn, Kaw Area Technical School, Topeka; Warren Milks, Labette County High School, Altamont

Kentucky: Pat Boone, Eastside Technical Center, Lexington; Doug Brockman, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Campbellsville; Robert Lee, Ballard County, Barlow; Christopher Smith, Knox County ATC, Barbourville

Louisiana: Peter Hillary, Patrick Jonson High School, Baton Rouge; Eylda G. Thaxton, Louisiana Technical College/Sabine Valley, Many; Barbara Wortman, Bossier Technical School, Shreveport

Maine: Harold Casey, Hancock County Technical Center, Ellsworth; Brian Marchant, Presque Isle Regional Technology Center; Paul Sirois, Oxford Hills Technical School, South Paris

Maryland: Janis Baird, Easton High School; Elaine Bradley, Calvert Career Center, Prince Frederick

Massachusetts: Brian Cummings, Nashoba Valley Technical High School, Worcester; Michael Lipp, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, Dartmouth; David Williams, Chicopee Comprehensive High School

Mississippi: Tina Bacigalupo, Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center, Bay City; Bryan Guy, Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northwest, Clarkston; Steve Lick, Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center, Allegan

Missouri: Paul Light, Missouri state association director, Jefferson City; Marcia Reed, Columbia Area Career Center

Nebraska: Jack Jenkins, Norris School District 160, Firth

Nevada: Stanley Gardner, Advanced Technologies Academy, Las Vegas

New Hampshire: Mollie Chase, Manchester School of Technology

New Jersey: Mary Beth Brace, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack; Camille Rainiero, Mercer County Technical School, Pennington; John Schneider, Salem County Vo-Tech, Woodstown

New Mexico: Mary Anderson, Deming High School

New York: Paul Abate, Rensselaer Educational Center, Troy; Midge McCloskey, Monroe 2 BOCES, Spencerport; Candida Oakes, North Franklin Educational Center, Malone; Lisa Romeiser, Eastern Monroe Career Center, Victor

North Carolina: David Barbour, Wayne Lee and Cindy Pearsall, West Johnston High School, Benson

North Dakota: David Anderson, Sheyenne Valley Area Career and Technology Center, Valley City

Ohio: Sue Burleson, Buckeye Hills Career Center, Gallipolis; Kelli Fisher, Clay High School, Oregon; Obra Horn, Tri Rivers Career Center, Prospect; Michael Patten, Grant Career Center, Bethel; John Quitter, Buchtel Manufacturing Tech, Akron; Robin Schoonover, Buckeye Hills Career Center, Rio Grande; Tammie Thomas, Tolles Technical Center, Plain City

Oklahoma: Cynthia Franklin, Indian Capital Technology Center, Muskogee; Chris Meyer, West Campus Technical Center, Stilwell

Oregon: Colleen Fletcher, Madras High School

Pennsylvania: Troy Madden, Center for Technical Studies, Glenside; Connie Muschko, Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School/Bethlehem Campus; C. Douglas Shellenberger, Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center, Mill Creek; Shari Wilkinson, Crawford County AVTS, Meadville

Rhode Island: Joseph Fantozzi, Regional Career and Technical Center at Coventry High School; Gerald Suggs, Davies Career and Technical High School, Lincoln

South Dakota: Jerry Sauer, Office of Career and Technical Education, Pierre

Tennessee: Nicole Camarillo-Roning, Wilson Central High School, Lebanon; Brandy Chandler, Obion County Career Technology Center, Union City; Vernon Chandler, Lincoln Park Technology and Trade Center, Knoxville; Carl Creasman, Tennessee postsecondary, Athens; Bruce McClure, White House High School, White House; Rusty McKnight, Crockett County High School, Alamo; Bobby Moses, McMinn County Vocational School, Athens; Melanie Pritchard, William Blount High School, Maryville; Aubrey Satterfield, Horace Maynard High School, Maynardville; Phyllis Smith, Unaka High School, Elizabethton; Michael Warwick, West High School, Knoxville

Texas: Elias Alba, Eastfield College, Mesquite; Kelly Bell, Gonzalo Garza Independence High School, Austin; Stephen Burgett, McKinney High School; Joseph Calvillo, Weslaco High School; Jesse Camacho, Harlingen High School, La Feria; Lou Edna Musquiz, Del Rio High School; Bubba Norman, Madisonville High School; Minnie Rodgers, Mission High School; Stacy Scott, Southwest High School, Floresville; Don Sharp and Shannon White, Texas State Technical College, Waco; Mica Simpson, Copperas Cove High School; Darla Sparks, Klein Collins High School, Spring; Dayman Whittenburg, Mineral Wells High School

Utah: Sarah Habel, Hillcrest High School, Midvale

Virginia: Julie Anderson, Pulaski County High School, Dublin; Rita Barger, Scott County Career and Technical Center, Gate City; Joan Farley, Burton Technology Center, Salem; Christine Freeman, Massanutten Technical Center, Harrisonburg

Washington: Cary Davidson, Kentlake High School, Kent; Keith Kuniyasu, River Ridge High School, Lacey

Wyoming: Hank Reifke, Casper College; Brian Stevenson, Cheyenne Central High School end of story

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SkillsUSA Champions | Summer 2005 | Volume 39, No. 4
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