Leader Circle Sponsors

GGHI Board donates $1,000 to Skills USA

May 18, 2012

Callie White

Marketing & Communications Director, Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

The Board of Directors of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. voted at its Thursday meeting to donate $1,000 to Skills USA, an Aberdeen High School program that runs out of its Career and Technical Education department. This will help the student-led program get closer to its $10,000 goal to send six students to Skills USA’s national competition in Kansas City.

Four of Chuck Veloni’s students qualified to compete in the nationals competition by winning berths at state and regional championships. They are: Michael Vanairsdale, Residential Wiring; Tommy Ryan, HVAC & Refrigeration; Robbie Kenagy, Audio Production; and Selena Alvarado, Audio Production. Two students, Karmen Ayres and Erica Nelson, will attend as National Vice President and State President and Voting Delegate, respectively.

Aberdeen High School has a long, winning history with Skills USA. Since 2004, the school has had 27 state champions, 19 national participants, and ten state officers (including two state presidents).

At Nationals, not only will students compete, they will take part in workshops with industry professionals and attend a trade show packed with businesses looking at them as potential future customers and professional contacts.

Veloni said the students learn technical skills that help them get family-wage jobs after they graduate high school. Graduate Katie Grimnes, last year’s National President, was offered a job as a lineman in Spokane even before her graduation due to the strength of her electrical wiring skills. Another student who took a job as a manual laborer was offered an apprenticeship as an electrician after he misunderstood his boss and put together some equipment. “His work was that good,” Veloni said. “Now he’s a journeyman electrician.”

The students come away from the program with more than technical skills, there is a leadership element to it, too.

“Aberdeen students have earned the opportunity to compete, and we’re happy to help them,” said Tim Gibbs, GGHI CEO. “Their success and the success of this program deserve community support, and we’re glad to be able to give it.”

The students raised $3,800 at Wednesday night’s Cowboy Barbecue, and previously raised $2,500 through smaller fundraisers on their own.

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