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Gadsden State students medal at state SkillsUSA competition

Gadsden State Community College students earned 10 gold medals, six silver medals and two bronze medals during the recent Alabama SkillsUSA Leadership Conference, Career Expo and State Championship in Birmingham.  The SkillsUSA theme for this year is “Champions at Work, Career-Ready Starts Here.”

Technical students from Gadsden State’s Ayers, East Broad and Valley Street campuses competed with 1,875 students in over 80 different categories including additive manufacturing, HVACR, automotive refinishing, promotional bulletin board, extemporaneous speech, technical drafting, electrical construction wiring, job interview and carpentry.          

The 10 first-place winners will represent Gadsden State at the 55th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference June 24-28 in Louisville, Ky.

“SkillsUSA empowers students to become world-class workers and leaders,” said Tim Green, Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development. “SkillsUSA’s structured program of citizenship, leadership and employability coupled with Gadsden State’s career technical education ensure that our students are strengthening Alabama’s workforce.”

Students finishing in first place and earning gold medals are Haley Earp of Sand Rock and Anthony Morris of Glencoe in Additive Manufacturing Team; Daniel Anderson of Boaz, James Clark of Wellborn and Zackery Cowley of Glencoe in Automated Manufacturing Technology Team; Joseph McDaniel of Boaz in Carpentry (Dual Enrollment / High School); Benjamin Gissendaner of Lincoln in Collision Repair; Brandon Terry of Piedmont in Electrical Construction Wiring; Timothy Rogers of Lincoln in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning; Michael Boyd of Oxford in Industrial Motor Control; Rebecca Gaston of Anniston in Job Interview; Aaron Estes of Southside, Charles Evans of Gadsden and David Jones of Sardis in Promotional Bulletin Board Team; and Tyler Woodley of Sand Rock in Technical Drafting.

Students earning silver medals and finishing in second place include Brandon Sanders of Heflin in Automotive Refinishing Technician; Landon McFall of Jacksonville in CNC Milling; Tavaera Burton of Anniston in Collision Repair; Samuel Day of Heflin in Electrical Construction Wiring; Allegra Champion of Jacksonville in Extemporaneous Speaking; and Trey Brady of Munford in Industrial Motor Control.

Bronze medals for finishing in third place were awarded to Gabriela Gasper of Gadsden in Barbering and Nic Smith of Pleasant Valley in Carpentry.

Students who represented Gadsden State at the skills competition and finished in the Top 10 in their event include Angelo Douthard of Gadsden in Barbering; Jeffrey Morrow of Attalla in CNC Milling; Caleb McFall of Jacksonville in CNC Turning; Taylor Hood of Rainsville and Krystle Cantrell of Ashville, both in Cosmetology; Dawson Dodd of Centre and Davis Young of Piedmont, both in Diesel Equipment Technology; Lillie Vandergrift of Cedar Bluff (with model Brooke Campbell of Alexandria) in Esthetics; Kailey Hardy of Hokes Bluff in HVAC (Dual Enrollment / High School); Alex Collins of Southside in HVAC; and Thomas Jackson of Alexandria in Technical Drafting.

Program advisors for students competing include Kristi Clifton (Job Interview, Cosmetology, Esthetics and Barbering), Zora Garner (Cosmetology, Esthetics and Barbering), Tim Hardy (HVAC), Brandon Patterson (Automotive Refinishing Technology and Auto Collision Repair), Heath McDaniel (Carpentry), David Smith (CNC Milling, CNC Turning, Promotional Bulletin Board and Automated Manufacturing Technology), James Wilson (Additive Manufacturing, Automated Manufacturing Technology and Technical Drafting), Laura Ann Sullins (Extemporaneous Speech), Stephen Stuelp (Diesel Equipment Technology) and Tony Thrower (Electrical Construction Wiring and Industrial Motor Control).

“We have committed, highly-qualified technical instructors working on our campuses,” Green said. “They are student-focused, and they arm our students with the skills they need to excel in competition as well as to graduate and to be ready for direct entry into the workforce.”

The SkillsUSA competition is a partnership among students, teachers, schools and industry working together to showcase talent.  The national organization for college/postsecondary technical students enrolled in trade, technical and skilled service profession instructional programs including allied health occupations represents more than 300,000 students and instructors.  SkillsUSA has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.

For more information about Gadsden State technical programs visit