Eight area TSTC students place at virtual SkillsUSA contest

(ABILENE, Texas) – Eight students from Texas State Technical College representing its West Texas campuses won medals at the 2020 SkillsUSA virtual conference meet.

The students earned five gold medals, one silver medal and four bronze medals. 

William Hancock earned gold medals in two events, Information Technology Services and Telecommunications Cabling. Victoria Jones earned a silver medal in Medical Math and a bronze in Medical Terminology.

Also earning gold medals were Rachel Bradshaw in First Aid/CPR, April Clark in Nurse Assisting, and Jerrod Doss in Internetworking. Bronze medals were awarded to Ashley Turnbow in Medical Math, Kerrie Helmuth in Nurse Assisting and Kaitlyn Mitchell in Job Interview.

Marchelle Taylor, TSTC’s West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator, said the students faced more of a challenge this year because of campuses being closed and the district conference being held virtually.

“It took flexibility on their part and extra work to prepare for the entire contest,” she said. “I am glad to have students at TSTC that worked together to continue to excel and participate in this excellent program.”

Bradshaw said competing online was “nerve-wracking.”

“I was more comfortable being able to do the written test from my home,” she said. “I hope the next time I compete it will be in person so we can show the judges what we know. It is always better to show your skills.”

Bradshaw, who is studying Nursing at the Breckenridge campus, said the competition will help her when she completes college.

“SkillsUSA will help you become a better employee and adult in general,” she said. “It has helped me to study more for my classes.”

Turnbow said knowing the contest would be online was not thrilling, but when it started, she changed her mind.

“It was both shocking and exciting,” she said of placing third. “Once I started taking the online test, it was an easy process.”

Turnbow, a Nursing student, said she plans to recommend that other students compete in SkillsUSA next year.

“This is a good program that will help you in your career. It is really good for resume building,” she said.

Helmuth was encouraged to participate by classmates and did not regret her decision. Even the online experience was beneficial.

“Once you completed the orientation, it was simple. I would do this again, but in person, preferably,” she said.

Helmuth, who is also a Nursing student, said competing taught her something she will carry over to her everyday life.

“I learned that no matter what the scenario is, I need to take the time to slow down and not hurry, no matter if it is at school, work or life,” she said.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College student Ashley Turnbow won a bronze medal in Medical Math during the 2020 SkillsUSA virtual conference meet.

Texas State Technical College student Kerrie Helmuth won a bronze medal in Nurse Assisting during the 2020 SkillsUSA virtual conference meet.

Texas State Technical College student Rachel Bradshaw won a gold medal in First Aid/CPR during the 2020 SkillsUSA virtual conference meet.