Local EMCC students earn SkillsUSA medals.

From Press Reports

Two East Mississippi Community College students from Eupora competed against their peers from colleges and universities across the nation in the SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

The national championships took place June 19-23 at the 53rd  annual National Leadership and Skills Conference. Ten EMCC students earned a combined eight gold medals in the Mississippi SkillsUSA competition in Jackson earlier this year to earn a shot at the national championships, in which only state champions are allowed to compete.

Four students in EMCC’s Welding Technology program also competed at the nationals. They are Kody Gilbert and Johnny Lott of Eupora, Timothy Nichols of Columbus and Bo Thomasson of Madison.

Gilbert, Lott and Nichols came in sixth place at the nationals in Team Welding Fabrication. Thomasson placed 10th in Welding Services Technology.

“All of our welding students completed the nationals in the Top 10 in the nation,” EMCC Welding & Fabrication Technology instructor Gary Gammill said. “Between the secondary and post-secondary schools there were probably more than 80 teams in Welding & Team Fabrication. It is a big competition and very, very competitive.”

During the annual competition more than 6,000 career and technical education students compete hands-on in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

“You know when you get there the competition is going to be tough,” EMCC Diesel Mechanics instructor Michael Ricks said. “A lot of the competitions are decided by a less than a half of a point.”

Meridian resident Dillion Miles, who took second place in Marine Services Technology, said the faculty at EMCC deserve credit for preparing students for the competition.

“The fact that 10 students from here went to the SkillsUSA Championships shows that EMCC is helping us learn what we need to know to and that the teachers are putting in the time and effort for us to place in a national competition,” he said.

Instructors aren’t resting on their laurels.

“The night of competition after we left the coliseum and were heading back to Mississippi we began preparing for next year,” Gammill said.