2014 Student2Student Mentoring Contest Winners

Three SkillsUSA chapters have been honored for their efforts in the Student2Student Mentoring Program.

The 2014 Grand Prize winner for the Student2Student mentoring contest is Tulsa (Okla.) Technology Center.

There are two Awards of Excellence: Brookhaven Technical Center at Eastern Suffolk BOCES in Bellport, N.Y. and Kofa High School in Yuma, Ariz.


2014 Grand Prize Winner

Tulsa (Okla.) Technology Center

Advisor: Richard Stewart
Training Areas: Criminal Justice: Forensics and Security

This year, the Criminal Justice: Forensics and Security program at Tulsa (Okla.) Technology Center decided, as a chapter, to adopt a school through the Partners in Education Program, which is supported by the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The SkillsUSA chapter reached out to McLain Eighth Grade Center. They chose this center because they wanted to work with students who come from a high crime and high poverty area and orientate them with the concepts of criminal justice. The chapter worked with assistant Principal Courtney Reynolds to discuss implementing a Student2Student Mentoring program.

They established a steering committee, which consisted of the assistant principal, school counselor Janet Thomas; teacher Michelle Maxwell; advisor Richard Stewart; and student project managers Bradley Campbell, Angel Huckaby and Makayla Kleis. Upon making an agreement to mentor students from McLain, they began to prepare for the project.

As a chapter, they took the concepts and hands-on activities that they were taught and created a their own curriculum to be presented to the 8th grade students. They presented to two full classes at McLain 8th Grade Center for a period of twelve weeks.

Their first objective of the project was to orientate the high risk students with criminal justice concepts. This way, the McLain 8th grade students would be more familiar with aspects of law enforcement. It was imperative to the chapter that they be as positive and informative as possible to help the students at McLain. They taught the following concepts to the students: crime scene sketching; DNA collecting; fingerprint collecting; report writing; handcuffing; and crime scene photography. Their chapter supplied all materials that were used by the McLain students.

Their second objective was to build friendships and relationships by implementing the commitment to America’s Promise. They wanted to show that they cared by providing a safe place to teach a marketable skill through education. They hoped and desired to get the students interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice.

Their third objective was to explain to the students the benefits of SkillsUSA and Career Technical Education. Many of the students had no idea that they could earn college credit while attending a career technical center. This goes back to the premise that in order to break a cycle of crime in a particular area, the people must be equipped with the tools to educate themselves and to engage themselves in the community.

The fourth objective was to provide assistance to McLain 8th Grade Center by networking them with other businesses through the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

Their Student2Student Mentoring project began on October 30th. This project was seen as a vital tool to make the learning in the classroom become more relevant. They even hosted all of the 8th graders that we mentored at the Tulsa Technology campus where they lunch and participated in an adoption ceremony that was attended by representatives of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce. Their project was highlighted at a forum hosted by the Mayor of Tulsa, the honorable Dewey Bartlett.

What was evident during their time at McLain 8th Grade Center were the positive and enriching relationships that were built between the SkillsUSA chapter, students and school faculty. The school showed so much respect for the SkillsUSA chapter. The mentored students looked forward to seeing the SkillsUSA students every week, and the faculty was always excited to hear about the positive outcomes from the classroom. The SkillsUSA students also looked forward to seeing their mentees and gained lifelong skills and a commitment to giving.

Because of the mentoring project, the SkillsUSA chapter was able to create additional partnerships for McLain that can provide assistance to the student body. The chapter also able to arranged a tour of Tulsa University to expose the mentored students to higher education prospects.

The highlight of the project was hosting 40 eighth grade students at Tulsa Technology Campus so they could see where their mentors learn. The SkillsUSA students have already begun discussing with the administration of McLain to partner again with them next year for the Student2Student mentoring program.

2014 Awards of Excellence

Two Awards of Excellence were presented in the 2014 contest.

Brookhaven Technical Center at Eastern Suffolk BOCES

Advisors: Talia Cliffe and Giovanni V. Chiarelli
Training Areas: Computer Technology

The Brookhaven Technical Center at Eastern Suffolk BOCES project was to focus on creating an awareness of SkillsUSA’s impact on their program of work. They expanded on the Student2Student Project they started during the 2011-2012 school year, where the SkillsUSA students visited younger students at their home schools, as well as have those students visit their technical center to be mentored on computer technology and repair.

This school year, their goal was to expand the program and reach many more schools and students in their county. They were able to reach out to eight different school districts. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, every week, they go to the different schools and work with their technology department and with the students who need assistance with their computers. They even started a computer club. The technical center students show up wearing their SkillsUSA shirts. That always prompted the conversation with the other students because they asked, “What’s SkillsUSA?” It became a perfect opportunity to share with the younger students all that SkillsUSA has to offer.

The Technical Center services 51 school districts in their county. The first objective this school year was to work on how to share their SkillsUSA mentoring project with younger students within their school districts. They wanted to spark potential interest that could only happen with first hand exposure.

Advertising their programs was an objective. By allowing the students to both work and learn from each other provided an opportunity to talk about the various programs available, building confidence in the students’ abilities to make a difference.

Improving interpersonal skills was a definite component of the project for the students. Working together with people they might not normally work with or never experienced working with taught everyone a lot. Communication skills were important, too: learning to respond to questions, being prepared to speak to others at their level of comprehension in order to keep their interest.

The younger students experienced working with their hands. That was something they were not used to in school.

The students in both schools couldn’t wait for Tuesday’s and Thursday’s every week! The young students enjoy working with the SkillsUSA students. They hear “Thank you” all the time. Teachers from other programs comment on how professional the technical students are each week. The same teachers comment on how excited their students are to work with the SkillsUSA students. It is truly a win-win program. The mentored students say they can’t wait to join SkillsUSA so they can do the same project someday.

The technical center is thrilled with the results they experienced. They never anticipated or expected anything when they started the project. This has helped their students to realize their own potential and take a closer look at the differences that they can make not only in their life but in the lives of others.

The SkillsUSA class is a catalyst for our school chapter. They organize the fundraising and community service events, as well as participate in competitions. Students in other programs at the Technical school always ask, “How do you get to go to the other schools each week?” The students simply answer, “SkillsUSA!”

The Technical Center hopes to be able to get more schools within the districts involved with more of our programs as time goes on.

2014 Awards of Excellence

Two Awards of Excellence were presented in the 2014 contest.

Kofa High School

Advisors: Lorie Honeycutt and Lorie Honeycutt
Training Areas: Automotive, Construction, Culinary, Hospitality Management, Sports Medicine, Firefighting, Criminal Justice, Business, Welding, Diversified Cooperative Education

Kofa High School’s mentoring project was called the 3C Expo. The three C’s stood for: Career and Technical Education (CTE), College and Careers. On January 31, 2014, The high school SkillsUSA chapter brought more than 1,000 8th grade students from around their county to the local community college campus. The students were divided into smaller groups of 25, and two SkillsUSA students were assigned to each small group. Their task was to two-fold: assist with the project preparation and mentor the small groups by explaining the benefits of involvement in SkillsUSA and how early involvement can help students building their resumes and personal portfolios for future employment.

The idea for the project came from the five CTE counselors in their school district who wanted all 8th graders to have the chance to see how CTE was preparing students with advanced skills for America’s workforce. They also wanted the 8th graders to spend time with SkillsUSA and other CTSO student leaders and to learn the value that comes from involvement in these professional organizations.

The idea became a reality when Lorie Honeycutt, lead advisor, wrote and received a special project grant to assist with the financing for the 3C event.

During the event, the 8th graders were introduced to the benefits of planning a career path; they took part in team building activities with the SkillsUSA members; and they got to tour the CTE program booths where they participated in hands-on projects lead by additional SkillsUSA members, secondary and post-secondary instructors and local industry partners.

At the end of the day, the 8th grade students were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the CTE career path they were most interested in pursuing. At the completion of the survey, each student was given a 3C Expo flash drive bracelet that was loaded with career pathway information as well as information on CTE and SkillsUSA.

The project served to introduce students to the rigor and value of involvement in CTE programs at both the secondary and postsecondary level. Plus, it gave the 8th grade students a chance to visit the local community college campus and become familiar with the degree programs it has to offer all students.

The Kofa SkillsUSA chapter received positive feedback from all of the schools that participated. They have already received approval to host the event again next year.