Nine Pennsylvania College of Technology students from a variety of majors will compete at the National SkillsUSA Conference from June 23-28 in Kansas City, Missouri, after winning gold medals at the state level.
Three other students in the college contingent finished second in their respective categories at the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held April 9-11 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.
And a Penn College student and alumnus will attend as a candidate for the highest individual SkillsUSA honor: an International Degree, awarded at the rarely attained upper level of the organization's professional-development program.
Many of Penn College’s SkillsUSA medalists pause for a group photo in the welding lab with their faculty mentors. From left are Jerome T. Czachor, of Dickson City; Glenn R. Luse, masonry instructor; Kyle T. Potts, of Colver; Andrew S. Manley, of Cogan Station; Benjamin S. Welch, of State College; Wyatt F. Fink, of Cogan Station; Nicholas S. Choiniere, of Millbury, Mass.; Darren J. Layre, of Hatboro; Tyler A. Spear, of Mifflinburg; Randall J. Haynes, of Julian; Chad M. Austin, of Eldred; and James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. Missing from photo are Marc T. Kaylor, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and Nicole Reyes-Molina, of Lancaster.
First-place finishers at the state conference and earning the honor of representing Penn College in national competition are:
Chad M. Austin, of Eldred, who competed in the diesel equipment technology category; Nicholas S. Choiniere, of Millbury, Massachusetts, welding; Jerome T. Czachor, of Dickson City, computer maintenance technology; Wyatt F. Fink, of Cogan Station, restaurant service; Randall J. Haynes, of Julian, precision machining; Marc T. Kaylor, of Lebanon, Pennsylvnia, aviation; Andrew S. Manley, of Cogan Station, computer programming; Kyle T. Potts, of Colver, technical drafting; and Benjamin S. Welch, of State College, internetworking.
This will be the second consecutive trip to nationals for Kaylor (who brought home a silver medal in 2013), Haynes and Welch. Kaylor advances on the basis of judging at the college's Lumley Aviation Center, as there is no aviation category at the state level.
The three silver medalists at Hershey were Darren J. Layre, of Hatboro, culinary arts technology; Nicole Reyes-Molina, of Lancaster, masonry; and Tyler A. Spear, of Mifflinburg, automotive refinishing technology.
"The students did very well and represented the college with pride," said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college's SkillsUSA adviser. "I hope we can go to Kansas City and bring back more medals." He and the students were accompanied to Hershey by Glenn R. Luse, masonry instructor.
Seeking to complete his international degree during the national conference is Joshua W. Brunk, a 2008 hospitality management graduate who is enrolled in the college's technology management major. Those seeking to complete that sixth and highest level must be employed full time in their occupational field and submit a notebook documenting their competencies.
This year's success raises to 114 the number of Penn College students who have advanced to national competition over the years; 34 have won medals at Kansas City.