Local students find success at SkillsUSA national championships

BENNINGTON— Multiple students from the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center found success at this year's SkillsUSA national championships.

Cameron "Cam" Turner, who has attended SVCDC's law enforcement program for two years, received one of the highest awards in the criminal justice competition- a bronze medal.

James Gulley, law enforcement instructor and local sheriff candidate, expressed pride in his students who participated in the competition.

"I would like to take a moment to acknowledge my law enforcement, crime scene investigation and criminal justice teams," Gulley said. "They acted professionally, showed integrity, as well as tenacity, during their National SkillsUSA competition (in June)."

He also commended Turner, who not only won a bronze medal in the competition, but is also a SkillsUSA Vermont first place champion. Turner received a scholarship from Castleton University to major in criminal justice and follow in his state trooper father's footsteps.

Also, a group of four seniors was awarded a Skill Point Certificate in the competition's Health Knowledge Bowl. This group already won a gold medal in the state competition before advancing to the nationals.

Cassidy Danforth, Samuel Irion, Chloe Crawford, and Liam Drew were all a part of "Team J," which won the award. Team J came in fifth overall in their category.

"That was a very strong placement," said Kathy Slade, medical professions instructor at SVCDC. "They did amazingly."


SkillsUSA is a national membership association that serves technical school students and their instructors. According to the SkillsUSA website, the organization has served over 12.5 million members since it was founded in 1965. The SkillsUSA national championships were held in Louisville, KY June 24-28. More than 6,300 students from across the country competed at the national level to showcase their career and technical skills.

At the championships, students demonstrate technical, workplace, and personal skills in various competitions relating to their career path. Industry leaders from across the country act as judges who evaluate contestants against their own standards for entry-level employees. This year, the theme of the competition was "Job-Ready Day One."

The competition

Among knowing about health-related subjects like healthcare systems, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and microbiology, the Health Knowledge Bowl contestants have to spell medical terminology correctly. They had 30 seconds to confirm their answer.

"It's sort of like Final Jeopardy," Slade said. "It's a hard (competition) to study for."

Slade said that the group didn't seem too nervous when it came to the competition since they have lengthy reviews before tests. The reviews are set up similar to the Health Knowledge Bowl itself.

Each of the winning students have plans to attend college this fall to study in the health field. Drew will attend Norwich University in pursuit of a career as a physician's assistant, and Irion also believes he'd like to be a physician's assistant. Irion plans to attend a SUNY school. Crawford will study at Russell Sage College in Troy to become a nurse. Danforth will attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to study radiation therapy.

"These kids did really well," Slade said. "They were already winners going in."

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at


and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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