SkillsUSA national Silver medalists from Pellissippi State include, from left, Elijah Ray, Ian Johnson and Thomas Wilhite. Not pictured is fellow Silver medalist Channing Mendez.

SkillsUSA national Silver medalists from Pellissippi State include, from left, Elijah Ray, Ian Johnson and Thomas Wilhite. Not pictured is fellow Silver medalist Channing Mendez.

Four Pellissippi State Community College students brought home Silver medals in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference last month, the second year in a row the college has had teams finish in the top three on the national stage. 

The team of Ian Johnson and Channing Mendez brought home Silver for Digital Cinema Production while the team of Elijah Ray and Thomas Wilhite snagged the Silver for Audio-Radio Production at the conference held June 21-23 in Atlanta. The annual competition showcased more than 5,200 outstanding career and technical education students – all state contest winners – who competed in 108 trade, technical and leadership fields. 

“We are all extremely proud of our students’ work and representation on the national stage,” said Matt Spraker, director of Student Engagement and Leadership for Pellissippi State. “This happened because of their hard work and dedication, and the wonderful education and coaching they have received from program advisors Sharleen Foster, Katie Lovett and Jonathan Maness.” 

Pellissippi State also was represented at the national competition by Richie Gelfand, who competed in the Welding competition. Coached by advisor Aaron Roy, Gelfand won Gold at the SkillsUSA state conference this spring, a first for a community college student in Tennessee. 

Founded in 1965, SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, teachers and industry that empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. During SkillsUSA competitions, students race against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. 

Last year Pellissippi State students Tom Sidorski and Josh Wilson brought home Bronze for Television (Video) Production. 

For more information on SkillsUSA, visit www.skillsusa.org. 

###