Three SGTC students qualify for national SkillsUSA event

Published 7:56 am Friday, March 1, 2024

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Staff Reports

Atlanta, GA – Twelve South Georgia Technical College students won gold, silver or bronze medals at the State SkillsUSA competition three-day competition in Atlanta recently. Three of those students will now advance to the National SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, June 24 – 28.  Aviation Maintenance Technology’s Andrew Daniel of Thomaston, GA; Criminal Justice’s Brantley Vansickle of Americus; and Precision Machining and Manufacturing’s Blake Archer of Palm Harbor, FL; captured Gold medals or first place medals and will now advance to the national competition.

    The instructors of the gold medal winning students include:  Aviation Maintenance’s Victoria Herron, Charles Christmas, Paul Pearson, David Grant and Robert Sturgeon; Criminal Justice’s Teresa McCook, and Precision Machining and Manufacturing’s Chad Brown.

   South Georgia Technical College also tied for second place for the largest increase in post-secondary SkillsUSA membership this year with an increase of over 80 members from 2023.  Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Josh Curtin accepted the award on behalf of the college’ SkillsUSA efforts.

  Forty-four SGTC students were nominated by their instructors to compete in the state SkillsUSA event in Atlanta against the other top students from around the state in various categories.  In addition to the three Gold medals, Aviation Maintenance’s Brandon Elliott of Senoia, GA; Healthcare’s John Mizell of Cobb, GA; and Criminal Justice’s Traneisha Burns of Cochran; Marticia Garcia of Americus; and Diquita Mathis of Pinehurst; won silver medals.  Hailey Dunford of Americus; Amanda Pickle of Americus; Jareca Searcy of Reynolds, GA; and Keisha Sawnson of Buena Vista, GA; captured the bronze medals in Health Knowledge Bowl.

   The other SGTC students who represented their programs at the competition which featured hundreds of students from across the state were: Architectural Drafting’s Jesse Cadenhead; Automotive Technology’s Zillie Daniels; Aviation  Maintenance’s Trey Hightower; Cosmetology’s Biery Paris, Sakeida Brown and Justice Peters; Diesel Equipment Technology’s Ja’Ron Davis, Caleb Howard, and Cole White; Early Childhood Education’s Gerald Harp; Justice Peters and Breylon Green for Extemporaneous Speaking; Jessica Wiley for Job Interview; Laieton Sharpe for Job Skills Demo; Merari Aparicio and Ashley Walker for Medical Math; Nail Care’s Shia Pace and Briyanna Phelps; Nursing Assisting’s Lauren Dowdey and Kiauna Duncan; Marketing’s Erin White; Practical Nursing’s Marie Mura; Barbara Chestnut, Anthony Jenkins and Ladeaveon Lockett for Prepared Speech; Jadon Bailey, Katlin Champion, Damir Mincey, Leah Nunley and Ethan Pollock for Quiz Bowl; Zackary Mincey for Related Technical Math; and Timia Mitchell for t-shirt design.

    “We are very proud of each of these students,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “To be nominated and qualify to represent the college as one of the best from South Georgia Technical College is an honor.  To be singled out further with a gold, silver or bronze medal is outstanding.”

   SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.  SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skills service (including health) occupations.  Hundreds of students participate in SkillsUSA local, regional and state-wide competitions. Only the first-place winners from each event advance to the national competition.

   In addition to the program-specific skills competitions, students are also encouraged to attend leadership building seminars that will help them be better prepared to enter the workforce.

     SkillsUSA is another way South Georgia Technical College students prepare for success in the workplace. “The SkillsUSA competition awards validate the hands-on technical education that South Georgia Technical College provides.  We are preparing individuals for the workforce.  We appreciate the time and effort these students have dedicated to their projects and also the guidance and support provided by the instructors to prepare them for this competition,” said SGTC President Dr. John Watford.

   In addition to the forty-four students who attended the state SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, a number of SGTC administrators, instructors, and staff were involved in the event.  Vice President of Student Affairs Eulish Kinchens and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Josh Curtin, Vice President of Academic Affairs Julie Partin, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird attended along with Director of Career Services Cynthia Carter, Academic Deans Dr. David Finley, Katrice Martin, and Brett Murray; Instructors Kevin Beaver, Chad Brown, Jennifer Childs, Charles Christmas, Mary Cross, Eden Edge, Brenda Gilliam, Johnny Grffin, Victoria Herron, Dorothea McKenzie, Patrick Owens, Andre Robinson, Christine Rundle, Michelle Seay, Jeff Sheppard, Jason Wisham, and Jessakeetha Maddox.  SGTC Director of Campus Safety and Police Chief Sammy Stone also accompanied the students and Director of Admissions Candy Walters, and Recruiter Tylen Pepito were on hand to recruit from the high school students who attended and competed in the event.

   South Georgia Technical College offers students the “Complete College Experience” with on-campus housing and dining, nationally recognized academics, intercollegiate athletics, and student activities.  The college is currently registering students for an eight-week mini-mester that begins March 11.  Individuals wanting to jump start their career can apply and enroll in over 200 associate degree, diploma, or technical certificate of credit programs.

   Contact the SGTC admissions office in Americus at 229-931-2394 or in Crisp County at 229-271-4040 for more information.  Students can apply online at  It is not too late.  March is no application fee for all graduating high school students.  Take advantage of this opportunity to apply at South Georgia Technical College for the mini-mester, summer or fall semester.