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Oklahoma Students Bring Home Gold - And Silver And Bronze - From SkillsUSA Conference

July 31, 2014

Oklahoma SkillsUSA students brought home a record number of medals from the 50th National SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City.

The students won 51 medals, tying the CareerTech student organization’s state record, said Jeff Huffman, trade and industrial education state program administrator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. They won 18 gold, 16 silver and 17 bronze medals at the conference.

“This is one of the best years, if not the best, that Oklahoma has had at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference,” said Darren Gibson, Oklahoma SkillsUSA director and CareerTech trade and industrial education program specialist. “Oklahoma is ninth in total membership, but we finished fifth in total medals won.”

Gibson said he believes the 18 gold medals is a new record for Oklahoma, although the historical information is not complete.

“Our records go back about 10 years, and we have never had that many gold medals in that time,” he said. “With our national contestant numbers increasing (nearly doubling in the last 10 years), it is pretty safe to say that we probably have never won more than 18 gold medals.”

Oklahoma also had two national officer candidates who both won their elections. Stephanie Wilburn, a health careers student at Green Country Technology Center, was elected as a secondary national officer, and Shane Morrison, a welding student at Autry Technology Center, was elected as a postsecondary national officer.

 “Oklahoma had an excellent group of students and advisers attend,” Huffman said. “They represented our state very well.”

Oklahoma had 201 students competing at the conference, and 168 finished in the top 10 in their events. More than 6,000 students who won state contests competed in 99 hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests run by industry, trade association and labor organization representatives help run the contests, with test competencies set by industry representatives, Gibson said.

“I believe that our success comes from SkillsUSA’s partnership with business and industry in creating contests that are relevant in the trade and that prepare our students for the workforce and from our teachers doing a great job of teaching the technical, employability and hands-on skills needed in the respective career areas,” he said.

SkillsUSA helps students become better workers, leaders and citizens, Gibson said, by teaching leadership, teamwork, citizenship, character development, self-confidence, positive work attitudes, superior skills, high ethical standards and communications skills.

SkillsUSA is one of seven CareerTech student organizations affiliated with CareerTech programs. It is affiliated with trade and industrial education. The other six are Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (family and consumer sciences education), FFA (agricultural education), DECA (marketing education), HOSA (health careers education), Business Professionals of America (business and information technology education) and Technology Student Association (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

For more information about SkillsUSA, visit For more information about Oklahoma CareerTech, visit

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 393 comprehensive school districts and 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Laura Wilson, Writer/Editor

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