Old Colony sending 91 to SkillsUSA district competition

Feb 5, 2018

Old Colony is sending 91 students to this year's SkillsUSA district competition in New Bedford on March 2.

SkillsUSA is a program in which students from technical schools compete against other students in a chosen trade, to demonstrate their knowledge of a given skill or vocation. All 13 departments at Old Colony participate in the competition.

Freshmen don't compete, however; SkillsUSA competition is only open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Generally, students take a test which determines their overall placing. The top four students in each department are invited to the SkillsUSA district competition at New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

However, competitions for some shops are different from the others.

For example, Computer Science students worked in pairs to produce a SkillsUSA computer project; the top four partners will move on to the district finals. One set moving forward is duo Sadie Lombardi and Jameson Woodward of Rochester; the pair took first place in the school's Computer Science competition.

The Cosmetology department held separate competitions for students who have completed over 500 hours in the Cosmetology studio, and students who have logged under 500 hours.

In the Business Technology department, students took a computerized test based on their understanding of Microsoft software, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access.

Top earners in Computer Science include Zachary McMahon, who took the bronze medal for third place. Kyle Wright of Mattapoisett will also head to district finals, having taken fourth place.

The students who win the district competition at New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School will go on to compete at the SkillsUSA state competition in Marlboro.

Top winners in the state competition will compete in the national finals at Louisville, Kentucky.

Old Colony's SkillsUSA advisor Heather Gifford said that the goal is to have half of the students that attend the conference to move on to the state finals. Around 30 Old Colony students competed in the state competition last year.

Old Colony students have also made it to the national finals in recent years. Savannah Lopes, who graduated from Old Colony in 2017, competed in the national finals last year as a Cosmetology student, competing in nail care. She placed fourth out of 26 other competitors from across the country.

Seventeen students have gone to the SkillsUSA national competition since 2017.

Zachary McMahon is a sophomore student at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School.