MARLBOROUGH – Executive Director Steven C. Sharek is pleased to announce that several Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) member schools were honored recently as part of the SkillsUSA Massachusetts statewide awards session.

Held Friday, May 13 at the Best Western Trade Center in Marlborough, the 2022 SkillsUSA Massachusetts award ceremony is the organization’s annual celebration of career and technical education, and serves as a way to honor the state’s CTE champions. All state and district medal winners from both technical and general education schools were invited to attend. 

Typically students compete in the annual SkillsUSA Massachusetts competition over a three-day event that culminates in the award session ceremony. This year, students competed remotely at both Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School in Upton and Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsborough during the month of April, with district medal winners being invited to the awards ceremony on May 13. Statewide medal winners were announced at the event.

Awards were announced in more than 100 categories covering a wide range of career and technical education specialties. Bronze, silver and gold awards were presented, some to individual students and others to school teams.

“Even though the event looked different than past years, the enthusiasm of those in attendance at our annual awards ceremony was as high as its ever been and the whole day was a terrific showcase of the incredible work of each and every SkillsUSA chapter across the state,” said Karen Ward, SkillsUSA Massachusetts Executive Director. “Our state leadership and skills conference is a showcase of the future leaders and innovators of this country, and that was on full display. Not only are these some of the brightest and most talented students in the entire state, but they are some of the most driven and creative as well. We applaud everyone who received an award, as well as the many people working behind the scenes to make this event possible.”

Prior to the awards portion of the event, a “champions festival” took place in the parking lot of the venue sponsored by the Massachusetts Army National Guard. The festival featured food trucks, an impaired driving prevention simulator, physical challenges, cornhole games, a dance section and more. 

At various times throughout the day students were invited to network and interact with their peers from other schools, as well as meet state advisors, instructors, SkillsUSA members and industry professionals. 

To open the awards portion of the event, student members of the SkillsUSA Massachusetts State Executive Council were introduced. This year’s council includes: 

  • Kara Koska, State President, Greater New Bedford Technical High School
  • Kayla Anastasio, State Vice President, Blue Hills Regional Technical High School
  • Mary Quin, State Secretary, Old Colony Regional Technical High School
  • Anjelis Amaro, State Treasurer, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute
  • Cody Douglas, National Parliamentarian, Bay Path Regional Technical High School
  • Hunter Claflin, State Parliamentarian, Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School
  • Ariana Besse, State Historian, Old Colony Regional Technical High School
  • Shannen Hardy, State Reporter, Cape Cod Technical High School

The National Anthem was performed by Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School student Natalie Vienneau, who also led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Koska gave the welcome address to open the event, explaining what SkillsUSA means to her, as well as the longstanding traditions of the organization.

“SkillsUSA builds and reinforces self confidence, work attitudes and communication skills, and the organization emphasizes quality of work, high ethical standards, superior skills and having pride and dignity in your work,” Koska said. “Through SkillsUSA, we also have a tradition of instilling in our members a sense of patriotism and pride in our country that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.” 

Koska also spoke of the SkillsUSA theme for the 2021-22 school year, “United as One,” which celebrates the unifying nature of career and technical education that allows for all students in classrooms across the country to engage in education, training and programs that recognize and advance their ability to be career-ready.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Regina M. Robinson, Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education, who spoke on the values of hard work and dedication and how failures in life can push people to excel just as much, if not more, than success. 

A special recognition was given to Michael Ogilvy, who was given SkillsUSA Massachusetts’ highest honor by being named an Honorary Life Member. Ogilvy was honored for his years of dedicated service to SkillsUSA and to technical education in Massachusetts, as well as his history of volunteer service, leadership and innovation in various industries. 

Ogilvy was presented his recognition by SkillsUSA Massachusetts Board President Brian Bentley.

“On behalf of all MAVA member schools represented as part of this year’s SkillsUSA Massachusetts state leadership and skills conference, I wish to congratulate our students for their outstanding performances and achievements,” Executive Director Sharek said. “SkillsUSA’s mission of supporting and promoting career and technical education in Massachusetts through training, service and competition has long helped shape the state’s top young minds, and we thank them for all they do on behalf of our schools, our students and their families.”

To learn more about SkillsUSA Massachusetts, click here


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