HAVERHILL – Superintendent Maureen Lynch is pleased to announce that Whittier Tech’s SkillsUSA Chapter has been named a National Model of Excellence, which denotes the highest level of the SkillsUSA Chapter Excellence Program.
For eight years, SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program has honored chapters for exemplary work in supporting the SkillsUSA framework of developing personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. The framework supports the intentional learning of critical workplace skills sought by technical industries.
SkillsUSA outlines specific characteristics defined within each skill area to help ensure tangible benchmarks for student achievement and chapter programming.Achievement is measured by the effectiveness of student efforts in implementing essential workplace skills, including personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic, and organization in chapter activities, through hands-on activities.
“Congratulations to our SkillsUSA students and advisors. Their hard work and dedication are the reasons Whittier has been recognized,” Superintendent Lynch said. “We are committed to continuing to pursue projects and initiatives that empower students to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible citizens through SkillsUSA.”
Whittier’s chapter was recognized as a Model of Excellence in Technical Skills for several projects that honored Haverhill’s first responders on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
SkillsUSA student officers attended the Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum alongside Whittier Tech Administration, first responders, and community sponsors.
“I thought the project was a really good tribute. It was respectful, well-thought-out, and it meant something to the community. Remembering the lives lost still carries a lot of weight in our lives and it was evident in the way the community rallied around the memorial. It was really powerful that our chapter and school were present for the ceremony and had a hand in the whole experience. What I really like about SkillsUSA and Whittier Tech is that we get to go into communities show off our technical skills and leave a lasting impression,” said SkillsUSA Chapter Secretary Marisa Behl, who is a junior Health Assisting student from Georgetown.
Leading up to the event, students from multiple vocational areas worked with chapter officers to plan, communicate on a large scale, make decisions, and work as a team to support the event.
Staff and students collaborated on the following projects to support the Memorial Service:
- The Masonry Department added customized donor bricks to the existing memorial at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum.
- The Advanced Manufacturing Department made custom key tags for all members of the Haverhill Fire Department and Haverhill Police Department.
- The Culinary Arts Department made pastries for guests attending the Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum.
- The Carpentry Department gifted both Haverhill Police Chief Robert Pistone and Haverhill Fire Chief Robert O’Brien with high-quality, handmade wooden American flags.
“It’s interesting because the students we have now weren’t even alive at the time of Sept. 11, 2001. They were awestruck hearing the names and ages of Americans who lost their lives. The students poured their sweat and skills into the event and it was only during the ceremony that they truly realized the impact of this memorial,” said Jane Moskevitz, SkillsUSA chapter advisor.
Additionally, students networked with community leaders, including Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, to bring the projects to fruition.
“I liked that we got to go to a community site and show off our technical skills while in school. Going to the Haverhill Firefighter Museum and creating a memorial for the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 was a special occasion. I know years from now, my masonry work will be seen by many community members and future generations of students. We took the traditional red bricks out and replaced them with the engraved brick that was donated to the museum. The project manager was able to lay out the pattern, but it was a skill that as a mason I will need to practice in replacing worn and torn pavers from other spaces. It was clear during the ceremony how appreciative our community was that Whittier Tech students were there making the project come to life,” said Silas Smith, a sophomore Masonry student from Haverhill.
Whittier’s SkillsUSA Chapter will be honored at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in June.
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the skills gap in which millions of positions go unfilled.
Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 366,000 annual paid members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. With the addition of its alumni, membership last year was 427,432. The nonprofit has served nearly 14 million members since 1965.