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Department: Success Story

Nyssa Lewis and Brian Lopez Mejia

SkillsUSA carpentry student Brian Lopez Mejia woke up pretty excited on May 4 (combined with a pretty serious case of nerves), knowing he was about to face one of the biggest opportunities of his life. Down the hotel hallway, fellow student Nyssa Lewis was dealing with her own anxieties. The chapter officers were used to…
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William Gorham

As the executive chef for Rocky Mount (N.C.) Event Center, William Gorham, now 46, leads a team of 24 employees — including chefs, concession staff, and kitchen staff — to prepare meals and cater large events. His interest in cooking, however, was sparked as a child when he visited his grandmother’s farm every summer in…
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Damien Lopez

s a child growing up in Newark, N.J., Damien Lopez was known to friends and family by another name … and as another gender. He was a sister (one of seven) and a daughter, roles that, for Lopez, “never resonated.” He remembers the conflicting, confusing emotions from an early age, but feeling those emotions and…
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Chandler Kerr and Brittany Whitestone

In printing, a duotone refers to creations that are made up of one photo printed in two contrasting colors, one superimposed over the other. The outcome is a new creative image that brings out the middle tones and highlights in a whole new way. Like a duotone, graphic communications graduates Chandler Kerr and Brittany Whitestone…
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Ben Falconer holding wrenches

Ben Falconer

From a young age, Ben Falconer enjoyed all things automotive, a passion ignited while working with his father on small engines in their home garage in Greeley, Colo. At some point along the way, Falconer, now 23, remembers meeting one of his father’s friends who painted cars for a living, and his passion suddenly expanded…
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Rah’Mere Williams

Rah’Mere Williams

Design and media student Rah’Mere Williams says he didn’t choose technical education. “I would say technical education chose me.” Williams was pursing an associate degree in design at Augusta Technical College when he found himself in a tense, ultimately life-changing meeting in his advisor’s office. Sherrie Rowe, the design and media department head, quickly helped…
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Anthony Mitchell Jr.

nthony Mitchell says he joined SkillsUSA by “mistake.” As an outgoing building trades student at Carl Loftin Career and Technical Center in Columbia, Miss., Mitchell was more interested in having fun than joining a student organization. Darnell Ramshur, Mitchell’s instructor and a SkillsUSA advisor, saw something special in the young man. Ramshur offered to pay Mitchell’s SkillsUSA dues for the first year if Mitchell would attend a SkillsUSA barbecue. “So, I’m like, ‘Fair enough,’” Mitchell says. “If I get a chance…
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EvaMarie Downs

EvaMarie Downs was born to cook, and her success as a culinary arts student at Cuesta College in Paso Robles, Calif., is confirmation. While a student, Downs initially joined SkillsUSA to spend time with her friends and fellow culinary arts students as they spent long hours preparing for competitions. “Doing something together like that bonds…
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Dylan Laumbach

Dylan Laumbach has her sights set on an advanced degree in mechanical engineering followed by a career where she can stay connected to the hands-on machining work she loves. This 17-year-old senior from Chickasha (Okla.) High School is SkillsUSA Oklahoma’s 2019-20 college/postsecondary parliamentarian and a model student in Canadian Valley Technology Center’s precision machining program.…
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Glori Beaufort

PODCAST: Interview with Glori Beaufort