CKSD students soar at SkillsUSA state competition

Central Kitsap High School and Olympic High School students outperformed their peers across the state at the 42nd annual SkillsUSA competition recently, setting the pace for the rest.

Taking home seven gold, 11 silver and three bronze medals, five of these students will continue on to the national competition June 24-30 in Kansas City, Mo. Students from Oly who will be competing in the national competition are Rachael Timmerman in computer maintenance and Tyler Jones and Phil Paguio as a team in 3D modeling and animation. From CK High, Matt Leach, Sarah Diamond and James Bayly in television news anchor, Matt Lightfoot and Chris Kim in the internetworking category.

“We took the top four spots in the state,” said Brandon Brown, Oly computer aid design (CAD) and architecture teacher and SkillsUSA advisor. “We’re still beaming.”

More than 4,500 students, all state contest winners, will compete in the SkillsUSA hands-on event in 87 different trade, technical and leadership categories. Students diligently work against the clock and their competitors to prove their expertise with skills including leadership abilities, public speaking and composure.

Occupations tested will include categories such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. Each contest is supervised and ran with the help of industries, trade associations and labor organizations. Test competencies are set by the industry.

SkillsUSA, formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives who work together to provide educational experiences and training for the skilled workforce. While helping students excel, the SkillsUSA competition provides networking between students and businesses for future jobs and higher training.

“SkillsUSA teaches students how to be leaders in their area,” said Jim Adamson, CKHS trade and industrial teacher and SkillsUSA advisor. “It’s all about them having a leadership experience.”

Traditionally, both Oly and CKHS have performed above average, taking home numerous awards along with competing at the national level. Brown said he was thrilled with Rachael Timmerman’s placement of first in the computer maintenance competition.

“It’s breaking down barriers and becoming more of a personal victory as well as a team victory,” Brown added. “I’m really excited to see how all the students can stand up against the 50 states.”

Adamson, who has been to the national level with students before, said last year was his peak after having one gold, one silver and two bronze winners.

“Tradition-wise, we really hope to have that niche to continue winning,” Adamson added. “(SkillsUSA) is one of the best kept secrets, and one of the seven wonders of the world.”

Although CKSD students excel with the materials provided, Adamson said they will be up against many contestants from schools that have three or four times the funding. Both Brown and Adamson plan to push their students and continue to focus on necessary skills to accelerate at the national competition.

“We were the best in state, and I’m excited to see how we can do nationwide,” Brown said.

A national nonprofit organization, SkillsUSA serves teachers, high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. This also includes health occupations. Any student can participate in SkillsUSA, however they must sign up and participate to be eligible for any competitions.

The competition will be open to the public and free of charge. For more information, visit

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