Technical students seek funding for conference

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By Lindsay Seagraves/Staff Writer

Sixteen area technical students are Kansas City, Mo. bound to compete in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. 

The conference, set for June 22-28, will allow Etowah County Career Technical Center students to engage in career and technical competitions, including welding, precision machinery, fire and rescue, and community service. 

Students will interact with over 8,000 other U.S. technical and career students.

Etowah County Career Technical Center Director Mark Stencil asked Etowah County commissioners for help funding the trip on Tuesday, explaining the cost for the conference is about $17,000.

Each student competing in the conference has placed in the Alabama Skills USA State Conference, and will compete hands-on in 99 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

First place medalists include: From Sardis, Clay Gardner and Matt Jarmon, from Southside, Austin Lutley, Chris Farmer, Jeremy Alexander, Chandler Tankersley, Dakota Nichols, and Cayden Hurst, from West End, Daniel Muchler, from Hokes Bluff, Derreck McDaniel and Dillon Griffin, from Etowah, Tyler Duncan, and from Gaston, State Officer Ashley Smith. 

State Officers Brooklyn Whitten from Gaston High and Dylan Cagle from Sardis High will also attend.

Commissioner Jeff A. Overstreet said during the meeting he is an advocate for Etowah County Career Technical Center and Skills USA, adding, “I believe it is up to the next generation to help Etowah County continue to grow. We need young people to go in and take these positions so they can start families here and stay here – not go two hours away to major cities to get jobs.” 

Stancil explained the Creer Technical Center has received some funding through grants and fundraising, but still lack a few thousand dollars. 

The Career Technical Center’s mission is to prepare individuals to excel in a career and enhance their life skills through academic and technical studies that positively impact the workforce needs of the community. 

As Stancil told county commissioners, “These students will represent our county.” 

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