WELLSBURG — It’s been a very good year for the Brooke High School Skills USA Chapter.
The group is one of 24 Skills USA chapters to be named a National Model of Excellence by Skills USA, which encourages youth to develop personal, workplace and technical skills that will benefit them in their future careers.
And one of the Brooke chapter’s members earned a silver medal after competing in Skills USA’s national conference held virtually in June.
On Monday, the Brooke County Board of Education recognized the chapter and Sidney Felouzis, a recent Brooke graduate, for earning the silver medal in the job interview competition.
Felouzis underwent two mock job interviews, the first involving one interviewer and the other a panel of five, and was judged on everything from the completion of her job application to her initial greeting.
She noted she was no stranger to the interviewing process, having aided instructor Thomas Bane in interviewing freshmen interested in entering the high school’s engineering program in each of the last three years.
The interviews are part of the simulated workplace approach taken by the school district’s career technical department. They’re intended to expose students to the job application process, not block their enrollment in a program.
Felouzis also was among Skills USA members who prepared for the competition by undergoing mock interviews conducted by Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Crook, Tim Pannett, director of career technical education for the school district; and Stephanie Duffy-Zimmer, its director of technology and communication.
The daughter of Jamie Fabian and Mike Bateman, the Weirton teen has received a full scholarship to Bethany College, where she plans to study international business, entrepreneurship and theater.
Skills USA competitions at the state and national level test the students’ knowledge of their chosen career paths and job-seeking skills they have learned as members.
Fellow Skills USA members Thomas Packer and Ethan Robey also placed ninth in a competition at the national event testing their knowledge of additive manufacturing, which involves 3-D printers.
Felouzis, Packer and Robey each had earned gold medals at the state Skills USA conference held in March.
For such efforts and members’ active involvement in leadership training, the group was the only West Virginia chapter to be named a Gold Chapter of Distinction.
Bane, who advises the club with Autumn Beatty, said the honor reflected a lot of hard work by its members and especially its officers.
The group was led last year by Jason Polgar, its president since 2018; Kendrick Fish, vice president; Brooke Ohler, secretary; Packer, treasurer; Felouzis, chaplain; Madison Ely, reporter; Rylie Winters, historian; and Robey, parliamentarian.
It was among several “wins” for the group at the state conference, which was held virtually in March.
Fish and Logan White also became the chapter’s first gold medalists at the state level for their performance in the mobile robotics competition.
Krysten Myers was the chapter’s first silver medalist at the state level after placing second in a competition testing her knowledge of early childhood education, her chosen field; while Ely and Joseph Fluharty placed second in television/video production and Jason Polgar, the chapter’s president, placed second in extemporaneous speaking.
Many of last year’s officers have graduated, leaving a new slate of officers to take over.
Bane said in addition to the recent accolades, he’s proud that Polgar and the others have been able to attract students from various career technical programs to the club.
While members initially came largely from engineering classes, Polgar noted the group now includes students of nursing, carpentry, early childhood and business, among other programs.
Alexis Woodling, a junior, has become the second member to be elected to a state Skills USA office. She also will serve as the chapter’s vice president, with White serving as president.
Woodling, who plans to pursue a career in nursing, said she has encouraged other students to join the group.
“I advertise it all of the time,” she said, adding membership in it looks good on a resume and prepares her for college and the job market.
Robey, who is among the recent graduates, said he joined because he was interested in Skills USA’s robotics urban search and rescue competition.
He said the club offers “a way to learn things you might enjoy and be good at.”
Packer said he was attracted by the opportunity to work as part of a team.
“I really enjoy getting to work with other people,” he said, adding he’s also made new friends through it.
Polgar noted the group also has been active in community service.
Its efforts last year included collecting more than 1,000 nonperishable food items and toiletries for the Steubenville Urban Mission and working with the school’s Technology Students of America chapter to collect litter along nearby Cross Creek Road as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)