‘Bridging Communities’ produces dual enrollment statewide skills champions

Two students of the Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center in New Kent County, Sara Jo Buchanan and Chase Williams, won gold medals in the recent SkillsUSA state championships.

Two students of the Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center in New Kent County, Sara Jo Buchanan and Chase Williams, won gold medals in the recent SkillsUSA state championships.

Eight students from Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center in New Kent County competed in the recent SkillsUSA state championships, and two won gold medals in their categories. Sara Jo Buchanan and Chase Williams, both of New Kent, will go on to represent Virginia in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in June. All Bridging Communities students are dual enrollment students earning college credit through Rappahannock Community College while learning employable skills and earning their high school diplomas.

Buchanan received her gold medal in the “Action Skills” event, giving a short visual presentation—“How to make a traffic stop” — within her category of Criminal Justice. Williams competed in the category of HVACR. His event included a series of testing stations designed to assess skills identified by industry HVACR standards.

Other Bridging Communities students who entered the state championships were Rachel Barlow of King William County, competing in the category of Criminal Justice; Colin Jones and Patrick Stewart, both of Charles City County, competing in Diesel Technology; Stephen Wilson of New Kent County, competing in HVACR; and Savannah Dagenhart and Samantha Otey, also of New Kent, competing in Nurse Assisting. Chase Williams and Stephen Wilson were among four Bridging Communities students who swept the HVACR category at the district SkillsUSA competition in March.

SkillsUSA (www.skillsusa.org) is a nonprofit association that serves more than 300,000 high school, college, and postsecondary students—and their instructors—in trade, technical, and skilled service instructional programs. Actively supported by more than 600 companies, trade associations, and labor unions, SkillsUSA partners educators and students with business and industry to help ensure that the United States continues to have a well-prepared workforce.

SkillsUSA programs teach leadership, citizenship, and character development to complement technical skill training; the organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship, and safety.