A trio of exceptional students who studied Engineering Technology and graduated in June from Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton won a prestigious bronze medal in Engineering Technology/Design at the 48th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) held in Kansas City recently by SkillsUSA, a national organization for vocational students in high school and college.
SkillsUSA fosters good citizenship, leadership, teamwork, and excellence in all aspects of career-related responsibilities and performance. SkillsUSA competitions are held yearly at the local, state and national levels, with bronze, silver, and gold medals awarded for achievement.
The winning Blue Hills Engineering team was comprised of Aaron Nesselle (senior class valedictorian), Ariana Chappelle, and Shawn Dryer, all members of the Class of 2013 from Randolph.
Another member of the Class of 2013, Brendan Dacey of Dedham, attended as a National Voting Delegate.
At the Blue Hills Regional District School Committee meeting on July 24, the three students, along with the SkillsUSA chapter advisor for Blue Hills, Mr. Robert Foley, proudly presented the school with a medal that commemorates their achievement. Supt. James P. Quaglia accepted it on behalf of the school.
The NLSC, which involved some 15,000 students, teachers, and business partners, according to SkillsUSA’s web site, took place from June 24-28, 2013. Nearly 6,000 students from across the nation vied for honors in almost 100 diverse categories such as mechatronics, commercial baking, crime scene investigation, digital cinema production, nurse assisting, and restaurant service.
“It was a great experience getting different people's points of view from both an engineering and non-engineering background,” said student Aaron Nesselle after the event. “It was also a great experience meeting the people who work in the industry. One of the people I met works for the company that makes one of the 3D printers that we have [in Engineering at Blue Hills] and that I used for this project. He said that he was impressed by the way I used his company's product and that he never would have thought to use it in that way. He went on to give me his boss's contact information and told me to get in touch with him. Another person I met looked at my project and told me that I was the perfect candidate for his company's scholarship. I was getting exposure that I did not have the means to get without this opportunity.
“On top of that,” Nesselle continued, “it was interesting to get to know the people my age who are doing the same things that I am doing across the country. I got to know some of them not only in a professional sense by learning about their projects but on a friendly side also, getting to know who they are and their likes and dislikes and even similarities to myself. It was a good feeling to know that I was representing not only my school but also my state.”
Another member of the award-winning team, Ariana Chappelle, noted of her SkillsUSA experience, “I personally enjoyed meeting people from other states and learning more about their interests. I especially enjoyed learning about how people from other states spent their time on a regular basis and seeing how people in Kansas City live. I believe it’s important to venture out into different places to see what life outside of your own neighborhood or town is like.”
She continued, “During this competition, I learned how important it is to have teammates that respect your thoughts, opinions, and decisions. It’s very difficult to work with someone who’s not on the same page as the inventor and communication is the key to clearing up any confusion and getting things done.”
“Setting aside winning the bronze medal,” said student Shawn Dryer, “being given the opportunity to compete against the best in the nation was an honor in itself. I got to meet fellow aspiring engineers and have a glimpse at their handiwork as well as make new friends from across the nation. The entire event has reinforced the value of hard work and determination for me and I thank [the Blue Hills Regional District School Committee member from Avon] Mr. Fran Fistori and the rest of the District School Committee for sending us there.”
Dr. Michael Meyers, Lead Teacher in Engineering Technology at Blue Hills, said, “By applying the fundamentals of their course, Engineering Design and Development, Aaron, Ariana and Shawn did an exceptional job representing our school and Engineering program, placing third in the country and winning a bronze medal at SkillsUSA. [Blue Hills Engineering instructor] Dan Hamill and I are very proud of their Engineering achievement and we feel sure they have a bright future ahead of them in the field. It is very exciting to see what our young Engineering students are already capable of accomplishing.”
Mr. Foley, SkillsUSA chapter advisor for Blue Hills, also praised
the award-winning students. “They have worked hard all year on this great project and they
worked hard all week [at the competition] as well. It can be difficult to work
as a team in an event like this but these young adults have persevered and
worked in a collaborative effort and the fruit of their labor is evident with
their medal. They have represented their families, their technical program, our
school and most importantly, themselves and each other, remarkably well.”