HAVERHILL – Superintendent Maureen Lynch is pleased to share that several Whitter Tech students attended SkillsUSA MA’s Fall State Leadership Conference (FSLC) earlier this month, the first overnight conference since the start of the pandemic.
Thirteen Whittier Tech Students were among over 500 students across the state that attended the conference from Nov. 20-21 at the Best Western in Marlborough. Whitter Tech students were accompanied by Allied Health Instructor Jane Moskevitz, Dental Assisting Instructor Tish Costa, Metal Fabrication Instructor Bruce Boiselle and Math Instructor Maggie McDonald.
At the conference, students networked with professionals, took part in workshops, participated in competitions and more.
Betzy Vazquez, a junior studying Plumbing, and Natalie Delano, a sophomore studying Health Assisting, both of Haverhill, were honored with the Leadership Award. This award recognizes SkillsUSA Ma members who have demonstrated their personal, workplace, and technical skills while also mastering certain requirements in leadership, citizenship, teamwork, service, and Chapter development skills.
Students also had the opportunity to attend the “Finding Your Voice Panel,” which aligned with the SkillsUSA theme of “our time is now.” Panelists stressed that while youth do have the future to look forward to, they should also seize opportunities in the present and learn how to use their voices for positive change. They also expressed the importance of voicing themselves respectfully and consistently.
Sanaa White, a junior from Haverhill studying Dental Assisting, connected with panelist Noube Rateau, who is a Radio and Television instructor and SkillsUSA advisor at Lynn Tech. Rateau is a well-known documentarian and recently won an Emmy for his “I am You” documentary, which focuses on immigration in the U.S. White spoke with Rateau about her dream of becoming a comedian, and he offered to serve as her mentor.
“I had watched both of his documentaries and I remember watching ‘I am You’ with my mom. As a young Black woman, I found his documentaries to be very relatable,” White said. “It had someone almost from the same background as me and it showed me that people can really see you. I felt seen by Mr. Rateau.”
White won two Most Valuable Participants awards for her enthusiasm and willingness to learn throughout the conference. She also placed second in the Personal Skills Competition.
Boiselle, SkillsUSA MA PresidentJaidyn Craig, a senior from Haverhill studying Medical Assisting, Ryan Deschenes, a sophomore from Haverhill studying Metal Fabrication, and Cameron Dodge, a freshman from Georgetown in the exploratory program, also participated in the FSLC Service Project.
“It was a really great opportunity to come together and give back to communities who support and model the SkillsUSA mission,” Craig said.
As part of the project, SkillsUSA MA partnered with the MetroWest YMCA to complete a service-learning project benefiting YMCA youth members and the camp’s Hopkinton site. Students constructed cornhole board game sets that were donated to the camp.
“This overnight conference signals a return to SkillsUSA operations as they were before the pandemic,” Superintendent Lynch said. “In-person conferences play a crucial role in networking and developing connections, and I know students were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet other students and professionals from across the state.”
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.