July 23, 2014 - 03:07
PCHS has best National SkillsUSA showing ever
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Derek Roberts and Brandon Cummings placed 5th in the nation in web design and took home a 1st place in the Web Video Challenge.

Kansas City, MO was the site of the National SkillsUSA competition as over 15,000 high school and post-secondary students and advisors from across the US gathered to show and compete with the skills they had learned.  Only first place students from each state are eligible for the competition, so talent among the students is extremely high.

Polk County students has their best National SkillsUSA showing ever as Derek Roberts and Brandon Cummings placed 5th in the nation in web design and took home a 1st place in the Web Video Challenge, a competition within the web competition sponsored by the World Organization of Webmasters and WebProfessionals.org.

 Both Polk County High School team members scored high enough in the competition that each also received industry certification in Web Design recognized by Microsoft, Cisco and World Organization of Webmasters.  The 1st place video challenge win came with a $500 cash prize and membership in WOW (World Organization of Webmasters).

Derek Roberts said, “This was the toughest competition I have ever been in. It really challenges you in all aspects of the profession including creativity, time management, teamwork and professionalism.”

Tennessee SkillsUSA Director Dr. Sue Tucker said, “The Web Design Contest is one of the hardest there is at SkillsUSA. I’m really proud that they were able to make it in the top 10”.  She also commented that Tennessee had 81 students in different competitions at the National SkillsUSA and that for the first time ever, over half of those students, 41 placed in the top 10 showing that the skill level of Tennessee CTE (Career and Technical Education) students had really stepped up.

The competition starts with a knowledge test over the history, practice, terminology and programming language used in Web Development. The day after that, the students are sequestered for 8 hours and given information and photos from which to create a website. They have no internet access during that time and are not allowed to use templates or libraries of code. Everything had to be hand coded to really test the knowledge of the students. The websites are collected at the end of 8 hours, scanned for possible viruses and then posted on the Internet in a secure undisclosed location for judges around the world to score.

According to Bill Cullifer, CEO of WebProfessionals.org, the contest scoring is so close that only about 20 points out of a possible 1,000 separates 1st and 10th place and it is really hard to pick a winner because of such high quality from the top teams.

SkillsUSA programs help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom, and promote community service. SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is cited as a “successful model of employer-driven youth development training program” by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System is a comprehensive tool to help students document entry-level skills as defined by industry and accepted by state education policy.

 “SkillsUSA Championships is the nation’s biggest and best showcase for career and technical education students and the skilled workforce it prepares. We have an obligation to our members and sponsors to keep it growing,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA.

The teams’ last competitions are with FBLA, Future Business Leaders of America, in San Antonio, TX where they compete in the Web Site Design and E-Business Competitions. It is the largest National Web Competition as it allows the top 2 teams from each state to compete rather than just the 1st place winners as SkillsUSA does.

Travel to the summer national competitions was made possible by the fundraising and generous donations from many individuals and area businesses like the Conasauga Masonic Lodge, First Bank, Savannah Springs Koi Farm, VEC and The Drug Store.

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