Uintah Basin Technical College students proved to be innovative examples of perseverance while participating in the first-ever virtual SkillsUSA Utah Leadership and Skills Competition. UBTech students took home 18 medals in this year’s unique contest.
“Over half of the total students who competed medaled. What a huge accomplishment!” said UBTech President Aaron Weight. “I wish to express my appreciation and congratulations to our faculty and staff who spent countless hours making this possible. Our students’ achievements were remarkable.”
Students competed in numerous categories ranging from medical to trades, and business. Due to continuing restrictions related to Covid-19 safety protocols, students participated virtually by submitting pre-recordings or through a live virtual competition.
UBTech faculty business instructor and SkillsUSA advisor, Angela Hanberg said that although this type of competition was unique, UBTech students tackled each challenge with tenacity.
“They grew more determined with each challenge,” she said. “They didn’t give up. It was difficult because each category had its own specific parameters and rules. But it seemed like once we figured it out, things would change again.”
In 2020, the Utah State SkillsUSA and the National SkillsUSA competitions were cancelled. This year, the organization proposed a virtual contest, offering 51 categories in which students could compete.
UBTech students displayed their skills in a total of 27 different categories, with 19 students ranking among the top three in their respective fields.
The nine gold medalists include: Taydn Holmes in Carpentry, Scotlyn Williams in Extemporaneous Speech, Betty Allen in First Aid/CPR, Trinity Long in Job Interview, Max Christensen in Medical Math, Ivan Sheffer in Medical Terminology, Laura Anderson in Nurse Assisting, Aimee Smith in Prepared Speech, and Davis Thomas in Welding.
Seven students earned silver medals, they are: Brendon Gardiner in Carpentry, Ethan Bowden in Carpentry, Adam Hadlock in First Aid/CPR, Valirie Serawop in Prepared Speech, Bretten Morrell in Medical Terminology, and Alia Searle in Welding Sculpture. Four students received bronze medals: Adam Twiss in Welding Sculpture, and Brandon Smith, Stacyn Thorlaksen, and Treven Timothy in Welding Fabrication.
Gold medalists are qualified to compete in the virtual 2021 National Leadership and Skills Conference.
This year’s gold medal count ties with the record gold medal count set in 2019. SkillsUSA advisor and UBTech faculty automotive instructor, Brant Mckeachnie said UBTech could have easily broken the old record, but some categories UBTech competed in previously were not offered this year.
Other notable SkillsUSA standout achievements include those in welding where UBTech has produced the gold medal state champion for six consecutive years. In addition, over the past 25 years UBTech students have medaled in a welding category (individual, fabrication team, or sculpture), said Jeff Taniguchi, UBTech faculty welding instructor.
Cabinetry students also have a tradition of a strong showing at SkillsUSA, medaling for the last five consecutive years. But wait! There’s more – UBTech students in health professions have medaled in the Nursing Assistant category for the past 3 consecutive years.
“These students are part of history for taking part in the first ever SkillsUSA virtual competition,” Weight said. “I applaud their determination to push forward and we look forward to see what the future holds in store for them.”