CHS Student to Compete in National Competition in Kansas City … and More About Career Readiness Training (Contains Video!)

A Colchester champion is ready to take on fellow champions from around the nation in Kansas City, Missouri, at the end of June!

CHS student Raymond Donnelly, Jr., a Colchester High School senior who is enrolled in courses at Burlington Technical Center (BTC), won a bronze medal for collision repair and a gold medal for auto refinishing at the March 29 SkillsUSA competition. Donnelly competed against fifteen other talented students from all around the state and made an impressive showing, earning him the right to compete against other gold medalists from all across the country later this year.

Colchester's Raymond Donnelly, Jr. at Burlington Technical Center following his receipt of gold and bronze medals in the March 29 SkillsUSA competition

Colchester’s Raymond Donnelly, Jr. at Burlington Technical Center following his receipt of gold and bronze medals in the March 29 SkillsUSA competition

The annual SkillsUSA event required a great deal of support from area organizations, including Direct Auto Body, Shearer Chevrolet, Rotunda’s Auto Body, Progressive Insurance, State Farm Insurance, and Enterprise, all of which contributed funding, volunteers, and/or event space. SkillsUSA, founded in 1965, focuses on excellence in job training and in citizenship. Ed Companion, an auto body instructor with BTC, said of Donnelly, “He’s a great kid—very deserving. He’s an excellent student; I can’t say enough good about him.”

Donnelly was not the only Colchester student to achieve recognition in the event. CHS senior and second-year BTC welding student Jordan Darrt participated in the SkillsUSA welding competition against seventeen other competitors from around the state and won the bronze medal. The all-day event was held at the Advanced Welding Institute (AWI) in South Burlington.

CHS senior and second-year BTC welding student Jordan Darrt won a bronze medal in the competition

CHS senior and second-year BTC welding student Jordan Darrt won a bronze medal in the welding competition

And 2013 CHS graduate Nicholas Scibek, a post-secondary aviation student at BTC, earned a gold medal in the post-secondary aviation maintenance technology competition.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, arguably, one of the main purposes of education is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom—the component of daily living that involves supporting one’s self by means of employment. Certainly, the skills developed through the study of varied subject matters and disciplines plays a significant role in that. There are a number of programs and initiatives in place at CSD that are geared specifically toward assisting students with the nuts and bolts of planning for their future careers. From College and Career Week at CMS to facilitating exposure to a number of growing sustainability-focused employment fields and from providing interactive, work-related experiences in our community to championing career preparedness through extracurricular offerings, a lot of work is being done in these efforts.

At the Center for Technology—Essex (CTE) in 2012, a group of female students from Colchester Middle School got to roll up their sleeves and try out educational programs that are considered by the US Department of Labor to be “nontraditional” for females (which it defines as occupations “in which women comprise 25 percent or less of total employment”). The event—dubbed “Girls Can Too!”—was designed to encourage young women to consider the vast educational and career opportunities available to them in areas they might not otherwise necessarily even know about. The students had an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities pertaining to careers in engineering and architectural design, computer sciences, building technologies, computer animation and web design, automotive technologies, natural resources, and agri-science technologies.

Chainsaws! Heavy equipment! Pneumatic impact wrenches! Circular saws! It was a pretty exciting day.

Click here to see a video clip of the students in action.

To read our primer about college and career readiness planning at CSD, please click here.

The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners. Skills training opportunities such as these well complement the vision and strategic plan.

For more information about career planning at CSD, please contact any of your schools, or call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

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