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10 EMCC students to represent Mississippi in national competition

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10 EMCC students to represent Mississippi in national competition

Ten East Mississippi Community College students will compete against their peers from colleges and universities across the U.S. in the SkillsUSA Championships June 19-23 in Louisville, Ky.
The students earned a shot at the national championships after earning a combined eight gold medals in the Mississippi SkillsUSA competition in Jackson that took place Feb. 28 to March 1. During that competition, the EMCC students beat out competitors from colleges across Mississippi to advance to the nationals.
Six students enrolled in EMCC’s Automotive Services Technology Program and four students in the Welding & Fabrication Technology Program will attend the 53rd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kentucky where the SkillsUSA Championships will take place. “I am really proud of our students,” Automotive Services Technology instructor Dale Henry said. “They worked hard to prepare for these competitions.”
EMCC Diesel Mechanics instructor Michael Ricks agreed. “Our students put forth 100 percent effort in everything they did,” Ricks said. “You couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Here are the names of the students in the Automotive Services Technology Program who earned gold medals in the state competition and the categories in which they competed:
 • Kyle Bluitt, of Columbus, first place Job Skills Demonstration, oil change
 • Denzel Hendricks of Columbus, first place Motorcycle Services Technology
• Dillon Miles of Meridian, first place Marine   Service Technology
• Pete Peterson of Ackerman, first place Automotive Services Technology
• Matthew Walsh of Starkville, first place Job Skills Demonstration, disc brakes
• Callop Whitten of Columbus, first place Diesel Services Technology
EMCC Automotive Services Technology student Ricky McClain of West Point also finished third place in Small Engine Repair.
EMCC students in the Welding Technology Program who earned gold at the state level are: 
• Bo Thomasson of Madison, first place Welding Services Technology
• Kody Gilbert of Eupora, Johnny Lott of Eupora and Timothy Nichols of Columbus earned first place in the category of Team Welding Fabrication.
“Students in our program have won first place in Welding before and we have won first place in Team Welding Fabrication before,” EMCC Welding instructor Gary Gammill said. “This is the first year EMCC has ever won both of those welding competitions in the same year.”
The students will compete in the same categories at the national competition that they competed in at the state level and will square off in the nationals against gold medal winners from other states.
“We plan on doing the same thing at nationals that we did at state and do the very best we can,” Nichols said.
According to the SkillsUSA website, more than 6,000 career and technical education students from colleges and universities across the country will compete in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields at the nationals. "I am excited about going to the nationals and testing our skills against students from other states,” Miles said.
Last June, former EMCC student Nick Ferrell won first place in the Automotive Services Technology Division at the national championship, beating out competitors from across the country. He was awarded tools, a laptop computer and automotive software worth several thousand dollars. As the school with the first-place winner, EMCC received a 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe that is used by the Automotive Services Technology Program for training purposes.
Gammill said while the students have a shot at winning great prizes, most see the championships as an opportunity to jump-start their careers.
“There will be a lot of companies there that will be recruiting our students and offering them jobs,” Gammill said. “Our students will soon complete their college requirements and will be able to take advantage of some of those opportunities if they want to do so.”

EMCC SkillsUSA group shot.jpg
East Mississippi Community College students earned a combined eight gold medals in the Mississippi SkillsUSA competition. The students and their instructors are, from left: Matthew Walsh, Kyle Bluitt, Ricky McClain, Dillon Miles, Automotive instructor Dale Henry, Pete Peterson, Diesel Mechanics instructor Michael Ricks, Denzel Hendricks, Johnny Lott, Callop Whitten, Kody Gilbert, Timothy Nichols, Bo Thomasson and Welding instructor Cliff Sanders. Not pictured is Welding instructor Gary Gammill.

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