MCC students earn medals at national SkillsUSA competition

Skills winners

Last month, two Metropolitan Community College students walked away with new hardware from the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Students Kyle Ray and Leah Reichwaldt received a silver medal in Auto Collision Repair and a bronze medal in Welding respectively at the national competition held June 25-29.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. The organization creates a skilled workforce through the full development of a person that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.

Ray’s auto collision repair competition consisted of five sections: plastic repair, metal finish repair, written estimate, a welding test and a structural exam test. Ray, who is finishing up his degree in Auto Collision Repair at MCC and works at a hot rod repair shop, felt comfortable that his knowledge would pay off.

“I felt pretty prepared,” Ray said. “I was getting a little nervous but I felt confident that I knew everything that I needed to know.”

His hard work earned Ray a silver medal, which was better than he expected.

“It was surprising. I was expecting to do well but I wasn’t expecting to get second in the nation,” Ray said.

For her Welding competition, Reichwaldt was nervous going in, as students aren’t made aware of what they are creating until the clock starts.

“You compete in four different welding processes and torch cutting. We had kind of a general idea. They give you a print, a procedure and the materials and they give you an hour to put it all together,” she said. “It’s tough because you only have an hour to look at the print and procedure.”

Hearing her name get called for a bronze medal was an exciting shock for Reichwaldt.

“It was exhilarating,” she said. “I was hoping to maybe break the top 10. I was very happy with it.”