BILLERICA, MA — As the school year at Shawsheen Tech ended, 14 students extended their school days as participants at the SkillsUSA national competition held in Louisville, KY.
Two members of the Shawsheen team, Tewksbury residents Maren Williams and Shannon Varsas, returned home as medalists. Williams distinguished herself as the silver medalist in the Automotive Restoration competition, while Varsas returned to the Tech as the national gold medal winner in the Health Assisting competition.
SkillsUSA is a national organization that vigorously promotes career and technical education in part by sponsoring student competitions in a wide variety of technical fields. SkillsUSA also places great emphasis on developing leadership skills in young adults along with other non-technical skills essential for success in today’s workplace.
According to David Norkewicz, Director of Technical Education at Shawsheen, “SkillsUSA has been an important part of our career and technical education program for many years. We encourage students at all grade levels to get involved with SkillsUSA and compete to the best of their abilities. Over the years our students have achieved great success as medalists at the state and national level. But more important than the medals is the fact that participation in SkillsUSA gives our students an edge in job readiness. The skills they learn such as problem-solving, goal-setting, teamwork and communication enhance their strong technical skills. And we know these are the skills employers value today.”
The path to the annual SkillsUSA national competition began for Williams and Varsas at a local competition. This spring Shawsheen Tech sent 197 students to the district competition. Seventy-four members of the Tech team subsequently moved on the state-level competition which featured 2,500 student competitors from 53 technical schools. At this level of competition participants are tested by means of a pre-determined and timed set of activities meant to test their applied knowledge in their chosen technical specialty. Both Williams and Varsas won gold medals at the state competition thus earning the right to move on to the SkillsUSA national competiton along with 12 other members of the Shawsheen team.
For Varsas and Williams, this was their second trip to the SkillsUSA national competition, and this time they struck silver and gold. Each will take their exceptional experience as SkillsUSA champions to college in the fall. Varsas will be attending Saint Anselm College and Williams will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Shawsheen Tech.)
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