SJA News

Fifteen SJA Students Earn Medals at Vermont State SkillsUSA Competition

The St. Johnsbury Academy Career and Technical Education program was well represented at this year's SkillsUSA state competition. The team won seven Gold Medals, seven Silver Medals, and one Bronze Medal. Gold medal winners will compete in the national SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky this summer. Front row, left to right: Jake Geil '17 Colby Bourgeois '17, Gwen Frechette '18, and Oren Masure '18. Second row, left to right: Shawn Guckin '19, Dallas Leach '17, Haylee Crown '18, Jill Brochu '17, and Sam Cohen '17. Third row, left to right: Alexis Collins '19, Donnie Moore '17, Brodie Talbot '17, and Jake Choiniere '18. Back row, left to right: Christian Garey '17 and Robert Warden '17.

Fifteen St. Johnsbury Academy students won seven Gold, seven Silver Medals, and one Bronze Medal at the Vermont SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Competition. The six students who won gold medals will go on to compete at the annual national-level SkillsUSA Competition and Conference this June in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gold medals were won by Jake Geil '17 in Cabinetmaking, Colby Bourgeois '17 in both Auto Refinishing and Collision Repair, Gwen Frechette '18 in Commercial Baking, Alexis Collins '19 in Prepared Speech, Brodie Talbot '17 and Jake Choiniere '18 in Teamworks. Silver medals were won by Oren Masure '18 in Culinary, Shawn Guckin '19 and Donnie Moore '17 in Teamworks, Dallas Leach '17 in Collision Repair, Haylee Crown '18 in Welding, Jill Brochu '17 in Commercial Baking, Christian Garey '17 in Cabinetmaking, and Robert Warden '17 in Diesel Equipment, and Samantha Cohen '17 in Job Skill Demonstration. Since Colby Bourgeois won two Gold Medals, the Silver Medal winner in Collision Repair, Dallas Leach, will also attend the national conference in Louisville. Bronze Medals were won by Haylee Crown '18 in Welding and Pauleena Kapoukranidis '17 in Nurse Assisting. Pauleena attends the LNA program at Lyndon Institute, but is a St. Johnsbury Academy student. Finally, faculty member Fran Cone was named Advisor of the Year.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school, and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. The organization also helps to establish industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom, and promote community service. The Vermont championships attract over 1,000 students from high schools throughout the state with more than 50 hands-on skills and leadership contests, according to the program's website.

Director of the Academy's CTE program, Pat Guckin, said, "The accomplishments of our Career and Technical Education students reflect their determination to excel in highly skilled professions. SkillsUSA empowers students to be their best and our students perform at the highest level each year. I am most proud of the professional and personal relationships between our students and their teachers."

Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said, "Every year our CTE students and faculty prove they are top in the state and then go on to do well at nationals as well. This degree of excellence takes significant talent, of course, but what sets these students and teachers apart is their unrelenting pursuit of being the best in their fields. They put in hours upon hours of extra work, and these awards are just the most visible of the results."