Northeast State Students Shine in SkillsUSA State Competition | News

BLOUNTVILLE — An engineering and architecture instructor from northeast Tennessee once again saw his students achieve great success at the State SkillsUSA competition, held April 10-13 in Chattanooga. But there is a significant difference from past years of state-level success.

This year, instructor Daniel Arnett encouraged and motivated Northeast State Community College students to push their limits in state competitions. This is her first year at community college. Arnett moved to the Northeast state after several years teaching high school students at Hampton High School.

At both schools, Arnett saw students perform remarkably well in state competitions. In this year’s SkillsUSA State Competition, Northeast State students won six gold medals and two silver medals. This overall school performance was so impressive that Northeast State received the James D King Award in the state competition.

The six Northeast State gold medalists are:

•Macon Barden, graduate of Hampton High School, first place in architectural design;

•Mayce Wood, graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School, first place in the demonstration of vocational skills;

•Zack Oliver, graduate of Hampton High School, first place in technical writing;

•Laura Franklin, graduate of David Crockett High School, first place in a job interview;

•Hannah McSwain, graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School, first place in improvisational speaking;

•Noah Maxwell, first place in electrical construction wiring;

Three silver medals were also won by students from North East State. They are:

•Blake Roberston, a graduate of Providence Academy, and Joseph Jenkins, a graduate of Hampton High School, were the second team in additive manufacturing;

•Mackenley Jones, graduate of the Apostolic Gospel Academy, second place in computer programming.

Back at school last week, students were asked if they wanted to comment on their school’s success this year in the national SkillsUSA competition. Zack Oliver quickly responded by thanking Arnett, his teacher this year and his high school teacher when he was a student at Hampton. “I was happy when I heard he was coming here,” Oliver said.

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McSwain then went on to say that it was her first time participating and appreciated the encouragement given by Arnett. “He is the epitome of a teacher who cares for his students.”

Woods followed but saying “Arnett always pushes for all of us and believes in all of us.”

Franklin said “SkillsUSA was out of my comfort zone,” but Arnett provided me with encouragement and confidence.

Another college in northeast Tennessee also did well in the state competition. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton had two gold medalist students and one bronze medalist.

•Madison Fleenor of Bristol, Va. was the first in automotive service technology;

•Noah Cody of Washington County pioneered diesel equipment technology;

•Matthew Phipps placed second in the demonstration of professional skills and won a silver medal;

•Justus Brown placed third in welding and won a bronze medal;

•Jesse Duran placed third in CNC milling specialist and won a bronze medal.

TCAT Elizabethton’s longest-serving instructor Jacky Livingston teaches automotive technology. Tim Ward is Cody’s instructor in diesel engine equipment technology.

This year’s success by Northeast State students resembles the past years of success Hampton High School enjoyed while Arnett was there.

Hampton noted that this is still a state and regional strength contest, where he has won 54 state winners over the past few years.

Hampton is now led by one of Arnett’s star students, Philip Arrington, who won nine individual state championships while at Hampton and won a scholarship to attend North Carolina State University. Arrington had started his career in the private sector when he learned that Arnett was leaving Hampton.

“I couldn’t let it go,” Arrington told reporters when he returned to work in the fall. Hampton was back to win gold medals in the SkillsUSA competition two weeks ago and Hampton students also participated in another successful Carter County effort in last weekend’s Battle of the Build competition. An article on Carter County’s successful past two weeks will be published this week.