Meridian Star

July 7, 2013

EMCC tops two categories at National Skills USA

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a field of more than 6,000 competitors from across the country at the 2013 National SkillsUSA competition, East Mississippi Community College walked away with two first place finishes.

    EMCC automotive students Dale Brand of West Point and Devonta Brown of Columbus clinched the Job Skills Demonstration Open category and the Job Skills Demonstration A category, respectively, at the national competition in Kansas City, Mo., which ran from June 23-28.

    Automotive instructor Dale Henry, who accompanied seven EMCC student competitors to Kansas City, is thrilled with the results but isn’t surprised.

    “It’s outstanding! But we’ve been working toward this since school started (in August 2012). We’ve met nights and weekends. We’ve met at my house during holidays. It’s never-ending training, and it showed once we got there,” said Henry.

    In the Job Skills Demonstration Open category, which allows students to demonstrate a skill from any discipline, Brand demonstrated steps and techniques to change the oil in a modern car. In the Job Skills Demonstration A category, which requires students to offer a demonstration pertaining to their area of study, Brown demonstrated steps and techniques to change front disc brakes on a modern car.

    Both students used custom-built props assembled from car parts at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus. They had 13 minutes to enter the demonstration room, set up their props, perform and explain the demonstration and break down their props.

    “In both rounds, all the way down the score cards, we had the highest scores in all eight criteria,” said Henry.

    Despite the countless hours spent perfecting and drilling his demonstration, Brand still marvels at being named the best in the country in his category.

    “I get goose bumps every time someone brings it up. The reality still hasn’t set in yet,” he said.

    His first place medal is now hanging in his bedroom.

    During Henry’s time as EMCC’s faculty sponsor for SkillsUSA, he says the college has earned five first place finishes at national competition – two in 2013, two in 2010 and one in 2008.

    The 2013 National SkillsUSA competition was attended by more than 15,000 people and featured competition in 98 different trade, technical and leadership fields. It was the largest competition in SkillsUSA history.