March 15, 2023

Hundreds of Area High School Students to Compete In Regional Workplace Skills Competition

Nearly 300 high school students from the Capital Region, North Country, Hudson Valley and beyond will be at SUNY Schenectady County Community College on March 16 to challenge their peers in a host of job skills events as part of the regional SkillsUSA competition.

And for the first time, more than 50 additional high school students from the same regions will be competing at Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical Education Center – Albany Campus on the same day, testing their skills in everything from automotive to heating equipment repair and nursing as part of the annual SkillsUSA competition.

Students from nearly every Capital Region high school will be taking part in the events at both locations, hoping to advance to represent their region at the New York State SkillsUSA competition in late-April.

“This is an important event as it allows students to challenge themselves as well as utilize their skills to compete against others trained in the same fields. Competition reinforces  the value of the skills learned and allows competitors to interact with their peers with similar interest,” said Deb Toy, a social worker on the Career and Technical Education Center- Albany Campus and a SkillsUSA advisor. “According to our business partners, the need for students to have these skills and to prepare to fill the middle skills jobs gap has never been greater.”

Students competing say they look forward to challenging themselves and networking.

“I look forward to going to see how far I can go with SkillsUSA,” said Demari Perkins, a junior from Watervliet in the Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology program. He will be competing in the Extemporaneous Speaking competition.

“I did skills last year and I thought it was great. I enjoyed meeting the people and talking to everyone and showing what I can do,” said Ruby Culletto, a Sharon Springs senior competing for BOCES in the commercial baking competition.

“I think SkillsUSA is a great opportunity and the competition offers a professional experience that will help me in the future,” added Dezirae Yowell, a Berne-Knox-Westerlo senior in the Cosmetology program competing the extemporaneous speaking competition.

Several past SkillsUSA competitors, including Saratoga Chef and Food Network TV series Chopped Champion Michelle Hunter, said competing in the SkillsUSA event had a long-lasting impact on their future.

“I did a lot of competitions in BOCES for SkillsUSA and I did a few after that and they all taught me to prepare and over plan to make sure the timing was right,” said Hunter, a 2007 BOCES graduate.

“The best experience at BOCES was without a doubt going to SkillsUSA. I got a look into what ‘grind time’ in the industry looked like, working your hardest every minute you can to create work that you can be proud of,” said Evan Pollard, a 2018 graduate from Guilderland who competed in the Game Design & Implementation program. Evan now owns his own graphic design company in South Carolina.

Winners of the competition can advance onto the state SkillsUSA competition in April and, from there, the national event in June.

In the past, Capital Region BOCES has fielded several state and national champions, as well as prepared competitors for the national stage.

SkillsUSA is a career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school and students. The organization promotes personal and professional growth and offers students the opportunity to compete at the local, regional, state and national levels.  The organization also promotes giving back to the community, which locally results in collections each year for food pantries and city missions.

Students representing Capital Region BOCES during the competition are listed below. Their name in followed by the competition they are taking part in, their BOCES program and their home school district.

Albany Campus

  1. Emily Burdikoff,  Photography Competition, Digital Media Program, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (BHBL)
  2. Tristyn Bushey, Culinary Arts, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Shenendehowa
  3. Giovanni Centra, Action Skills Basic, Cosmetology, South Colonie
  4. Tucker Cherry, Auto Service Technology, Auto Service Technology, Niskayuna
  5. Caleb Close, Extemporaneous Speaking, Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology, Shenendehowa
  6. Robert Conners, Culinary Arts, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS)
  7. Landen Dayton, Auto Vehicle Maintenance Basic, Automotive Service Technology, Schenectady
  8. Elijah Edwards, Job Skill Demo, Building Trades, Schenectady
  9. Kylie Egan, Cosmetology Junior, Cosmetology, Scotia Glenville
  10. Riley Fisher, Nurse Assisting, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers, Guilderland
  11. Nicole Forbes, Job Interview, Digital Media Design, Duanesburg
  12. Erin Fresn, Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, BHBL
  13. Jacob Gilmore, First Aid /CPR, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers, BHBL
  14. Jocelyn Howe, House of Delegates, Global Fashion, Mohonasen
  15. Gino Isabella, Job Interview, Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology, Mohonasen
  16. Blae Kinzie, Prepared Speech, Machining and Manufacturing Technology, Mohonasen
  17. Ava Koonz, Nurse Assisting, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers, South Colonie
  18. Abigail Ludewig, Action Skills Basic, Pet Tech, Shenendehowa
  19. Elaina McGrath, Cosmetology Senior, Cosmetology, Bethlehem
  20. Emily Mickle, Employment Application Process, Retail & Vocational Services, Middleburgh
  21. Demari Perkins, Extemporaneous Speaking, Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology, Watervliet
  22. Sadie Plant, Advertising Design, Digital Media, Berne-Knox-Westerlo (BKW)
  23. Pedro “Mateo” Sanchez, Food Prep Basic, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Guilderland
  24. Cody Sherwood, House of Delegates, Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology, Middleburgh
  25. Cheyenne Shufelt, First Aid/CPR, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers, Voorheesville
  26. Joe Spendiff, Auto Service Technology, Automotive Trades Technology, Cohoes
  27. Ruby Sutphin, Job Skill Demo, Cosmetology, Shenendehowa
  28. Evan Thomas, Prepared Speech, Network Cabling Tech/Smart Home Technology, BKW
  29. Emily Tice, Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Guilderland
  30. Haley Titus, House of Delegates, Welding & Metal Fabrication, Schoharie
  31. Andrew Trowel, Carpenter Assistant Basic, Carpentry Services, Bethlehem
  32. Tessa Venditti, Cos Senior, Cosmetology, BHBL

 *Students with the House of Delegates after their name are not competing. Rather they are representing Capital Region BOCES in SkillsUSA meetings that day.

Schoharie CTE Campus

  1. Allyson Bates, Cosmetology Senior, Cosmetology, BKW
  2. Teddy Bechard, Culinary Arts Basic, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Schalmont
  3. Michael Bruyette, Culinary Arts, Culinary, Cobleskill-Richmondville (CRCS)
  4. Jeffrey Caron, CSI, Criminal Justice, BKW
  5. Gracie Chmura, Promotional Bulleting Board, Cosmetology, Duanesburg
  6. Ruby Culletto, Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Sharon Springs
  7. Brianna Galka, Cosmetology Senior, Cosmetology, Schalmont
  8. Drew Hall, Carpentry, Construction/Heavy Equipment, Middleburgh
  9. Rhiannon Islip, CSI, Criminal Justice, Sharon Springs
  10. Jeremiah Leger, Promotional Bulletin Board, Construction/Heavy Equipment, Duanesburg
  11. Kirsten Moran, Customer Service, Criminal Justice, Schalmont
  12. James Mosbey, Promotional Bulletin Board, Construction/Heavy Equipment, BKW
  13. Mason Welch, CSI, Criminal Justice, Duanesburg
  14. Dezirae Yowell, Extemporaneous Speaking, Cosmetology, BKW
  15. Justice Ebert,  Precision Heavy Equipment Operations, Construction/Heavy Equipment, Schoharie
  16. Kyle Dafeldecker, Carpentry, Construction/Heavy Equipment, CRCS
  17. Angelina Depina-Desorbo Cosmetology Junior, Cosmetology, Duanesburg
  18. Bertram Heath, Culinary Arts, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech, Schoharie
  19. Logan McDermott, Auto Services, Automotive Trades Technology, BKW
  20. Hannah Kaulfuss, Cosmetology Junior, Cosmetology, BKW
  21. Savannah Traverse, Prepared Speech, Construction/Heavy Equipment, Schoharie
  22. Jackalyn VanWormer, Automotive Services, Automotive Trades Technology, CRCS
  23. William Wetsell, Auto Services, Automotive Trades Technology, CRCS