Franklin County Tech SkillsUSA Competition Brings Out Students’ Talents


TURNERS FALLS, MA – For the first time ever, Franklin County Technical School held school-wide SkillsUSA competitions in late January and early February.

The written and hands-on competitions were spread over three days and several students walked away with awards. SkillsUSA advisors Cosmetology instructor Electra Manley and Welding and Metal Fabrication instructor Lorin Burrows came up with the idea to hold the competitions after visiting Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton, both of which host their own SkillsUSA competitions.

“We tried to mirror a little bit of what they’re doing,” Manley said.

Manley, Burrows, Vocational Curriculum Director Jocelyn Croft and Principal Shawn Rickan went to Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School when the school handed out awards following their competition.

When Manley and Burrows proposed that Franklin County Tech hold its own in-house SkillsUSA competition, Croft and Rickan were very supportive.

A national organization, SkillsUSA partners with business and industry to provide opportunities for members to develop individually and improve teamwork, leadership and professional skills through education, training, service, and competition.

Competitions at FCTS were held on January 25 and February 1. Awards were given out on February 2, except for Culinary Arts, which received awards on February 13.

“Some shops strictly held written tests,” Burrows said. “Some held written tests, followed by hands-on tests to simulate the district and state competitions.”

Manley and Burrows said the in-house competitions are great practice for when FCTS SkillsUSA members compete in the district and state competitions, and hopefully, nationals. By participating in the competition in their respective shops, it was also hoped interest in students joining SkillsUSA would increase.

“We’re always trying to increase the numbers,” Manley said. “I think we’ll have more participation this year because of the competition.”

The district competition will be held at Charles H. McCann Technical School in North Adams on March 13. Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Upton will host the state competition on April, 26, 27 and 28.

The national competition is held in June in Louisville, KY.

“The goal is to get the students to the state competition, and hopeful to nationals,” Manley said. “Once we get the students to the competitions, they have a blast and they ask us when the next competition will be.”

Carpentry instructor Michael Nobrega said the competition held at the school was the first time he has been involved with SkillsUSA and was very impressed with the organization.

“I’d like to use their standards to raise the bar of my curriculum,” he said. “It’s about employability skills, but we want them to have more than technical skills. We also want them to learn soft skills, communication, teamwork, integrity, honesty.”

While Nobrega spoke, some of his students were building bookcases as part of the competition.

Jordan DiGeorge of Bernardston said he enjoyed participating in the competition.

“It was something different than what we’ve usually done here,” he said. “It was a pretty good project.”

The winners of Franklin County Technical School’s SkillsUSA competition are listed below:

Carpentry – Upperclass:

  • Bronze                  Dan Rice
  • Silver                     Samantha Vatalaro
  • Gold                      Korey Bousquet

Carpentry – Underclass

  • Bronze                  Ben Bardwell
  • Silver                     Antonio Govan
  • Gold                      Jordan DiGeorge


  • Bronze                  Zack Taylor
  • Silver                     Hunter Wozniak
  • Gold                      Joel Smiaroski

Plumbing & Heating

  • Bronze                  Abigail Corey
  • Silver                     Ayden Stacy
  • Gold                      Spence Telega


  • Bronze                  Kaeden Socquet
  • Silver                     Dylan Wheeler
  • Gold                      Martin Given

Machine Technology

  • Bronze                  James Craig
  • Silver                     John Pichette
  • Gold                      Kurtis Kuenzel


  • Bronze                  Trevor Kimplin
  • Silver                     Kyle Bry
  • Gold                      Jarod Taylor

Auto Technology

  • Bronze                  Malik Johnson
  • Silver                     Bryan Allen
  • Gold                      Colin Pettis

Auto Collision & Repair

  • Bronze                  Kyle Snyder
  • Silver                     Gwyneth Clark
  • Gold                      Grayson Funk


  • Bronze                  Haleigh Paul
  • Silver                     Keltyn Socquet
  • Gold                      Tammy Motyka

Health Technology

  • Bronze                  Jon Curtis McDermott
  • Silver                     Tatiyanna Rosario
  • Gold                      Kailynn Mason

Programming & Web Development

  • Bronze                  Kevin Shimeld
  • Silver                    Grant Gorzokowski
  • Gold                      Chris Lacoy

Culinary Arts – Baking:

  • Bronze                           Evelyn McCassie
  • Silver                             Abby Champagne
  • Gold                              Jayden Chapin

Culinary Arts – Culinary:

  • Bronze                           Jesse Archumbault
  • Silver                             Elijah Furtado
  • Gold                               Evelyn McCassie

Culinary Arts – Hospitality:

  • Bronze                           Shelby Cutting
  • Silver                             Evelyn McCassie
  • Gold                               Matt Dubino

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