//WGTC students head to National SkillsUSA Competition

WGTC students head to National SkillsUSA Competition

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Photo: Seated l-r Eldridge Williams, Michael Flores, Logan Strickland, Isaac Nesbitt, Chason Warren, Levi Brown, and Sashawn Denson. Standing l-r Wiregrass President DeAnnia Clements, Weston Roberts, Tetiana Denysenko, Will Smith, Tatianna Conger, Hunter Wooten, Wilmer Calles, Michael Kelly, Brandon Howell, and Wiregrass Director of Campus Life Kelley Wetherington

VALDOSTA – Wiregrass Technical College students are heading to the National SkillsUSA Competition after winning gold medals.


Fifteen students from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College are headed to the National SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta this June after winning gold medals at the state-wide SkillsUSA Championship this past weekend. The college had an exceptional showing bringing home 15 gold, 5 silver, and 6 bronze medals.  Wiregrass was recognized as a Gold Chapter of Distinction level award winner. SkillsUSA Chapter President Andrew Ngo accepted this award on behalf of the chapter.  The college’s SkillsUSA Chapter Secretary Qua Edwards accepted the award for the second-largest post-secondary Chapter in Georgia and received 3rd place in the state for the largest member increase. And, the college’s Director of Campus Life Kelley Wetherington was named the 2023 Georgia SkillsUSA Chapter Advisor of the Year.

For the fifth year, the Wiregrass SkillsUSA chapter earned a Gold Chapter of Distinction award for chapter projects that are both service-oriented and practical learning experiences for students. With the support of advisors, students plan and execute the projects, which requires teamwork, communication, planning, and management skills, in addition to applying their technical skills. The chapter had three major projects this year. Tiaras and Ties project supports individuals with special needs who attend the Night to Shine Prom. The project included a collection drive for women’s and men’s prom attire and hosting a “boutique” for individuals to pick out their special outfits. The chapter co-sponsored, planned, and executed our annual “Wired Up!” event, which included renaissance-themed activities, food, and costumes, for students and employees. Our neuromuscular program students hosted a booth at the “Wired Up!” event to provide chair massages and a DIY relaxing bath salts station, which also provided an opportunity for the neuromuscular students to gain practical experience using their technical skills and the interpersonal skills required with clients.

Kelley Wetherington shared this on what receiving her state award means to her, “Receiving the Georgia SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year brings me much pride because I feel it is as much of reflection of our chapter as it is for me. I feel both honored and humbled to be recognized with this award. Honored because being nominated by my chapter advisors and students says to me ‘we appreciate all you do for us and we are proud to be a part of our chapter’. Humbled because our chapter and student achievements are accomplished with team effort and support. Being a SkillsUSA advisor requires dedication and a lot of work, it is also very rewarding to advisors to see a student challenge themselves on both a technical and personal level and witness the personal growth and increased self-confidence they gain, which better prepares them for the workforce.”

Wiregrass President DeAnnia Clements shared, “I am amazed each year at how well our students perform and super proud of their accomplishments.  The dedication of our instructors and advisors is evident in how well our students perform year after year. Wiregrass has been fortunate to have great leadership for our SkillsUSA team and it was wonderful to see Kelley Wetherington recognized as the Georgia State SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year. We congratulate these students, faculty, and advisors, and look forward to National SkillsUSA in Atlanta this June.”

These Wiregrass students from the Valdosta Campus who won gold will represent Wiregrass Georgia Tech at the SkillsUSA National Championships. They are listed with their program of study and their SkillsUSA competition:

William Brown, Mechatronics, in Mechatronics

Michael Kelly, Electrical Engineering, in Mechatronics

Wilmer Calles, Design and Media Production Technology, in Pin Design

Tatianna Conger, Computer Programming, in Video Game Development

Hunter Wooten, Game Development, in Video Game Development

Brandon Howell, Mechatronics Technology, in Electrical Construction Wiring

Tetiana Denysenko, Paramedicine, in Emergency Medical Technician

Isaac Nesbitt, Paramedicine, in Emergency Medical Technician

William Smith, Automated Manufacturing Technology, in Automated Manufacturing Tech

Logan Strickland, Precision Machining and Manufacturing, in Automated Manufacturing Tech

Eldridge Williams, Precision Machining and Manufacturing, in Automated Manufacturing Tech

Sashawn Denson, Welding and Joining Technology, in Welding Fabrication

Chason Warren, Welding and Joining Technology, in Welding Fabrication

Weston Roberts, Welding and Joining Technology, in Welding Fabrication

Michael Flores, Barbering, in Job Skill Demo A

Silver medal winners from Wiregrass were:

Skyy Barnes, Culinary Arts, Restaurant Service

Shawn Kelleher, Design and Media Production Technology, in Digital Cinema Production

Kyle Taghon, Design and Media Production, in Digital Cinema Production

Tedria Martin, Barbering for Cosmetologists, in Extemporaneous Speaking

Justin Molnar, Computer Programming, in Computer Programming

Students who won bronze medals at the state level were:

David Grace, Cybersecurity, in Cybersecurity

Tommy Cowart, Networking Specialist, in Cybersecurity

Sha’Quavia Edwards, Neuromuscular Massage Therapy, in Job Skill Demo Open

Silo Keith, Technical Studies, in Welding

Nakiria Larkin, Culinary Arts, in Culinary Arts

Andrew Ngo, Computer Programming, in Prepared Speech

Other college participants include from the Valdosta Campus Deon Braswell, Phil Cantrell, Jojoshua Davis, Cheyanne Thomas, Kristin Gill, Hope Hiers, Alicia Cole, Jacob Joiner, Jazmin Makuch, Marcelo Manzano, Caytlaun McRae, Meagan Ray, Brittney Roberts, Lacey Robinson, Eric Sommers, Cassidy Swenson, and Royal Williams

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school, and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skills service occupations. The SkillsUSA program hosts local, state, and national competitions for students to showcase their skills learned through hands-on training in the classroom.  For more information about Wiregrass’ SkillsUSA chapter or other student organizations and programs, visit wiregrass.edu. During the month of March, the college is waiving the application fees when you apply for Summer or Fall Semesters.  Summer classes begin May 15 and Fall starts August 15. Visit Wiregrass.edu to learn more about the programs Wiregrass offers.