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For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 2, 1998
Contact:John Costello

Massachusetts High School Students Recognized at 1998 National Skills Championships

Malden - Twenty-eight Massachusetts high school students were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the thirty-first annual Skills USA Championships. Winners of the competition were announced last week at the Awards Session of the VICA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

The annual competition highlighting student achievement in job and employability skills is sponsored by the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA), a national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. Massachusetts sent 230 students, teachers and administrators to the competition which hosted more than 9,000 delegates from across the nation.

Student delegates from across the Commonwealth competed with students nationwide, engaging in job skill competitions in several occupational fields. They were tested on employability based on a job interview, prepared speech and job skill demonstration. Student delegates also participated in assemblies to campaign for national VICA elected positions.

"I commend all the participating students for their hard work and determination in reaching this high level of competition," said Interim Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "This outstanding achievement is a tribute to the students, their teachers, their parents and their schools. We can be very proud of our vocational-technical system in Massachusetts."

All contests of the Skills USA Championships are planned by national technical committees made up of representatives of American business, industry, labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for employment.

Throughout the school year, the Massachusetts Department of Education sponsors VICA activities in schools across the Commonwealth, and these events lead to the national competition.

The following students received gold medals for first place finishes in their fields:

  • Alex Stupak, Leominster CTE, Leominster, Culinary Arts
  • Luiza Moreira, Gtr. New Bedford VTHS, New Bedford, Medical Assistant
  • Victoria Byrne, Diman RVTHS, Fall River, Action Skills
  • Jay Mello, Diman RVTHS, Fall River, Job Skill Demonstration
  • Heather Denaris, Worcester Voc. HS, Worcester, Nurse Assistant
  • David Reynolds, Diman RVTHS, Westport, Residential Wiring

Receiving silver medals for second place were:

  • Michelle Brennan, Tri County VTHS, Franklin, Basic Health Care
  • Chris Reynolds, Blue Hills RTHS, Canton, Carpentry
  • Nicholas Ghilardi, Minuteman Tech., Cambridge, Robotics Technology
  • Thomas Chandley, Minuteman Tech., Watertown, Collision Repair Tech
  • Yolanda Gonzalez, Southeastern RTHS, Brockton, Commercial Baking
  • Scott Burke , Shawsheen Tech., Billerica, First-Aid/CPR (EMT)
  • Joshua Croteau, Montachusett RTHS, Lunenburg, Prepared Speech
  • Harold Belhumeur, Eric Kupis, Erin Kupis,Vicki Melbourne, Danielle Such, Putnam Voc. HS, Springfield, Total Quality Mgment.

Bronze medals for third place went to:

  • Tim Grinham, Tri County VTHS, Franklin, Customer Service
  • Michael Collins, Upper Cape Cod Tech., E. Falmouth, Job Skill Demonstration
  • Trisha Wing, Upper Cape Cod Tech., Monument Beach, Practical Nursing
  • Gerald LaFlamme, Gtr. New Bedford VTHS, Fairhaven, Residential Plumbing
  • Katilyn Lumnah, Ben Langley, Melissa Cormier, David Handy, Sean Therrian, Tri County VTHS, Franklin, Occ. Health & Safety

As part of the delegate assemblies of the conference, Cyra Hathaway, a 1998 graduate of Plymouth South High School in Plymouth, was elected National Parliamentarian. As a national officer for VICA, Ms. Hathaway will serve as an ambassador for vocational technical education and national skill standards during the next academic year.

Last Updated: July 2, 1998
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