Victoria Slagle and Tanner Hicks

Step-siblings since kindergarten, Victoria Slagle and Tanner Hicks have always been raised as twins. It’s fitting, then, that their achievements in SkillsUSA have been similarly impressive.

Hicks, a 2009 national gold medalist in Power Equipment Technology, bested 2,000 elite applicants for a full scholarship to Nashville Auto-Diesel College. Winning it depended on aptitude test scores (only 23 percent even pass) and interview performance. Hicks aced the test and was the only applicant to ever achieve a perfect store in the interview.

“All of it came from SkillsUSA,” he says. “That was the key that helped the most: SkillsUSA, my parents and my advisor, James Winkles.” Hicks hopes to work for NASCAR after graduation.

Slagle is studying graphic communications at Georgia Southern University. In SkillsUSA, she served as the state president in 2007, was named Georgia’s outstanding student in 2008 and earned national bronze in Screen Printing in 2009. She’s considering a run for national office in 2010. “SkillsUSA always gave me the training to handle every situation,” she says.

Both students became SkillsUSA members when their mother, graphic design instructor Amy Hicks, started a chapter at Troup High School in LaGrange, Ga. Their father, Greg Hicks, is involved as a local business partner and state judge. “We have supported each other so much,” says Slagle.