As with any organization, SkillsUSA measures its success in many ways. But there’s no more powerful gauge for measuring the success of the SkillsUSA mission than to examine the accomplishments of our members, accomplishments that illustrate the positive difference that SkillsUSA involvement can have on a life.
Below you’ll find short synopses of many of these “success stories,” each one taken from the pages of SkillsUSA Champions magazine from 2002 to the present. There are students here from varied backgrounds with varied interests, but one thing binds them together: the positive, often life-changing effect that SkillsUSA has had – and continues to have – on their lives. Click on the “more” link in each piece to be taken to the full article.
On the day he joined SkillsUSA, Ben Falconer proclaimed he’d secure bragging rights as a gold medalist in the Automotive Refinishing competition. What SkillsUSA helped him achieve since that bold prediction has proven far more important, leading Falconer to a successful, rewarding career restoring some of the rarest, most expensive cars in the world.
Crystal Wright discovered an untapped reservoir of personal strength when she mustered the courage to share the painful details of her journey toward success. What she’s learned along the way has helped prepare her to lead through just about anything — including the unprecedented challenge of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
EvaMarie Downs operated a thriving business in the culinary arts field she loved, but the pandemic threatened to derail her dreams. Undaunted, Downs used what she’d learned as a SkillsUSA student to adapt her business to the current environment, ensuring that the immunosuppressed people she serves in her California county are living — and eating — well.
When the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, Paravi Das didn’t hesitate to give it her all, but an unexpected crisis meant a temporary setback. Drawing on her talent, passion and determination, this singer, artist and SkillsUSA Virginia president put on her red jacket and continued reaching for the stars.
“Being a chef is the most exciting profession you can be in, because you can create whatever you want out of whatever you have and make it look and taste good. And no one needs to know the difference.” Those insightful words from William Gorham apply as much to life itself as they do to his current “dream job” profession. In fact, at one time, Gorham’s life felt more like a nightmare.