Gillette College Students Place at National Competition

Written by on July 6, 2018

Press Release – Nine Gillette College students traveled to Louisville, Kentucky last week to compete against thousands of their peers at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Only those students who won first place at the state-level competitions in April were eligible to compete.

SkillsUSA prepares America’s high-performance workers and provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. Gillette College students enrolled in technical education programs compete in SkillsUSA each year and consistently excel – this year was no different.

In team competition, students Kade Mennie of Gillette, Lane McFerrin of Gillette, Troy Thompson of Sturgis, S.D. and Andrew George of Gillette placed fourth overall in the Quiz Bowl category.

GC students also placed in the top 30 in five individual competitions. Rhyley Daro of Gillette brought home a fifth place medal in the Customer Service competition. In the Job Interview competition, William Sonnie of Gillette placed ninth. In Job Skills Demonstration, John Gropper placed 11th. Colby Uran of Casper, Wyo. placed 12th overall in Individual Welding. In Diesel Technology, Spencer Fortner of Biddle, Mont., placed 29th.

More than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students competed in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields at the conference. Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as welding, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, diesel technology and culinary arts. Industry professionals, trade associations and labor organizations helped direct the competitions.

“These students represented Wyoming and Gillette College very well, and we are so proud of their achievements,” said Jed Jensen, dean of career and technical education for the Northern Wyoming Community College District, which includes Gillette College. “The programs at Gillette College prepare students not only for great careers, but to be leaders in their fields.”

The philosophy of the SkillsUSA competitions is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs. Gillette College students earned 17 top 30 placings over the past four years at the national competition.

To learn more about SkillsUSA, visit or the Wyoming chapter website at

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