Milton Hershey School Students Excel at SkillsUSA Competition
Preparing Milton Hershey School Senior Division students for the annual SkillsUSA competition is a campus-wide affair. Teachers led the charge, but other MHS employees assisted in areas like crime scene investigation and customer service to ensure that students had the real-life knowledge needed to succeed in the career-focused competition.
“The MHS employees who volunteer their time and skills ahead of the competition are experts in their fields,” Marianne Cutugno, MHS Business Education Teacher, said.
Their preparation paid off. Fourteen MHS students earned medals in 12 contest areas during the District SkillsUSA Competition in January. Four of those students took home first place.
“Every year I am amazed at how our students excel and rise to the occasion,” Cutugno said.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry professionals working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. MHS students competed against peers from 22 Central Pennsylvania schools at the District Competition. The MHS students’ success is especially noteworthy because some of their opponents spend half or full school days learning about the career field in which they compete. MHS students spend just 75 minutes each day.
“For us to even place in these competitions is rewarding. It is a complement to the teachers and student participants for what they are accomplishing in a short amount of time,” Cutugno said.
Kyrie Sanchez, MHS 12th-grader, entered the extemporaneous speaking contest for the fourth consecutive year. She credits her English teachers for preparing her to deliver a speech on how respect and integrity can impact one’s career choice. The topic mirrored the school’s Sacred Values.
“I entered SkillsUSA because I used to be afraid of public speaking,” Kyrie said. “I wanted to conquer that fear.”
She appreciates the competition is a friendly experience with a common goal of improving student performance. “There is no animosity, everyone is there for the same reason,” she added. “The other students are more like friends than opponents.”
First place winners are eligible to compete at the state competition in April. The MHS community will continue to help students master their skills as they prepare to compete again.
The MHS SkillsUSA chapter is connected to the school’s Career and Technical Education program. As a part of the program, all high school students are required to choose from one of 12 career pathways where they receive specialized courses, hands-on learning opportunities, and professional workplace experience. Programs such as SkillsUSA provide students with additional career exposure and preparation to broaden the opportunities offered to them after graduation.
2023 District SkillsUSA Competition Award Highlights
Congratulations to all MHS students who participated in the District SkillsUSA Competition. See below for award highlights.
- Kyrie Sanchez, MHS Senior – First place, Extemporaneous Speaking
- Joy Ademuwagun, MHS Senior – First place, Medical Math
- Coleman Vaughan, MHS Senior – First place, Job Interview
- Nevaeh Heverling, MHS Senior – First place, Prepared Speech
- Savannah Dopp and Hope Smith, MHS Sophomores and Janiya Whitted, MHS Junior – Second place, Crime Scene Investigation Team
- Landon Haynes, MHS Senior – Second place, Customer Service
- Maia Marrero, MHS Senior – Second place, First Aid/CPR
- Jael Ingram, MHS Junior – Second place, Prepared Speech
- Nino Burroughs, MHS Sophomore – Third place, Culinary Arts
- Morgan Marino, MHS Junior – Third place, Early Childhood Education
- YiLi Smedley, MHS Senior – Third place, Medical Terminology
- Chase Usner, MHS Junior – Third place, Related Technical Math