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Penn College competitors earn gold at SkillsUSA national

Michael D. Shoemaker (back row, center), of Orefield, joins other top welding finishers after winning a gold medal at the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference, held June 20-24 in Atlanta. PHOTO PROVIDED
Penn College alumnus Curtiss R. Gay (back row, center) stands with other aviation maintenance technology medalists after placing first in that category at the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference, held June 20-24 in Atlanta. Gay, of Tunkhannock, earned an aviation maintenance technician certificate in May. PHOTO PROVIDED

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology entrants placed first in their respective categories during last month’s 58th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta.

Bringing home the gold from the event – a showcase of the nation’s top career and technical education students – were Curtiss R. Gay, of Tunkhannock, who took part in the aviation contest, and Michael D. Shoemaker, of Orefield, who competed in welding. Gay graduated in May with a certificate in aviation maintenance technician, and Shoemaker is enrolled in the college’s welding & fabrication engineering technology major.

Also making the trip was Bradley W. Murphy, of Milton, an engineering design technology student who competed in the technical drafting category.

Shoemaker and Murphy advanced to nationals on the basis of their performance at the Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference, held in early April at the Hershey Lodge and Conference Center. Because the state event has no aviation competition, Gay won his slot at nationals during a faculty-judged competition at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville.

“I’m extremely proud of how the students competed and how we finished,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and SkillsUSA adviser, who accompanied the Penn College contingent to the conference. “It was a great week, and I’m glad the national competition was able to happen again this year after two years away because of COVID.”

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