Tests replace hands-on contests as 26 SkillsUSA members advance to state


Brooke Fehr

Beginning the process– Auto Tech SkillsUSA junior Dylan Klassen works on the chapter’s bulletin board for competition in October. Klassen, juniors Korbin Lambert and Luzelena Perez took the gold in the district competition in February to qualify for state in April.

 Twenty-six SkillsUSA members advanced to state in 13 events after virtual district testing in February.

  The absence of the hands-on element at district as well as cancelling of trips to Washington, D.C. for national leadership conference were all casualties of the pandemic. 

   “Our SkillsUSA members missed out on some amazing trips and opportunities this year due to the pandemic,” Auto Tech SkillsUSA sponsor Tommy Spence said, “but we’ve made the best of it that we could.” 

  To prevent the spread, SkillsUSA members had to prepare and compete differently. 

  “COVID-19 had a huge direct impact on SkillsUSA this year,” Medical SkillsUSA senior Brian Mendoza said. “Unfortunately, this crisis forced the cancellation of all in-person events such as summer leadership and district.” 

  Competitors were forced to take tests instead of doing hands-on at the district level. 

  “Usually in the nurse assistant competition you would have to perform physical skills on the patient,” Mendoza said. “This year the competition was held in the format of a test.”

  Members who had competed in previous years were used to hands-on competition. A nationally-ranked community service project which was was usually presented orally was replaced with an alternate competition format.

  “Preparing for Skills has changed because we had to prepare for different ways to compete,” Auto Tech SkillsUSA junior Sarah Teichroeb said. “We had to take a test instead of presenting our project for district.” 

  The pandemic took the teams from 29 state-qualifying events in 2020 to only 13 qualifying events this year.

    Students who have competed in previous years were faced with the challenge not being able to have a hands-on experience. 

  “I prefer to be hands-on; anyone can take a test and pass,” Cosmetology SkillsUSA senior Christy Knelsen said. “Not everyone can do hands-on. I think being hands on helps so much because it’s better future-wise.”

  Students will be able to participate hands-on at the state level virtually but with requirements given by the state. 

  “The skills contest will be more difficult to pull off but I think our state office has it figured out and will make it work,” Spence said. “The competitors will compete hands-on but will be watched and judged via a webcam setup using angles the judges and technical committees request.”

  Depending on the contest, Spence said materials will either be shipped to the contestants or a list of what they need will be sent to their schools prior to the contest day.

Results of district SkillsUSA (first and second places advance to state competition)

Auto Tech SkillsUSA

Promotional Bulletin Board–first place (junior Korbin Lambert, junior Dylan Klassen, junior Luzelena Perez)

Community Service Project–first place (junior Elaina Arellano, junior Jenny Klassen, junior Sarah Teichroeb)

Diesel Equipment Technology–first place (junior Addison Espinoza)

Quiz Bowl–second place (senior Brody Crawford, sophomore Matthew Abbott, sophomore Abran Flores, senior Alex Gonzales, junior Korbin Lambert)

Cosmetology SkillsUSA

Esthetics–first place (senior Christy Knelsen), second place (senior Alondra Wiebe), third place (junior Kristy Krahn)

Cosmetology–first (junior Amanda Mendoza), second (junior Mandy Wiebe)

Job Interview–third place (junior Amanda Mendoza)

Nail Care–first place (senior Janessa Neufeld)

Nail Art–first place (junior Arielle Fehr), second place (junior Isyss Flores)

Medical SkillsUSA

Health Knowledge Bowl–first place (senior Alexis Alvidrez, senior Brian Mendoza, senior Jessie Beaubien), second place (junior Kataryna Felan, senior Laysha Castillo, junior Eva Buhler, junior Pheng Lay), third place (junior Drew Vest, junior Xavier Romero, junior Natalie Deleon, junior Autumn Pineda)

Medical Terminology–first (junior Drew Vest), second place (junior Pheng Lay), third place (junior Autumn Pineda)

Medical Math–first place (junior Eva Buhler), second place (junior Kataryna Felan), third place (junior Natalie Deleon)

Nursing Assistance–first place (senior Jessie Beaubien), second place (senior Brian Mendoza), third place (senior Laysha Castillo)