CV-TEC Brings Home Four Gold Medals from SkillsUSA
Sitting in the crowded, energetic bleachers of the Syracuse Fairground, CV-TEC students waited anxiously to know if they would place in this year’s New York State SkillsUSA competition. Students prepared for months, studying their scopes and perfecting their skill. Among roughly 2,700 students across NYS, only gold medalists would move onto the national competition.
This year’s competition results were exceptional with four gold medalists and five silver medalists. Plattsburgh’s CV-TEC Education & Human Serivces student Amara Corrigan (Peru CSD) won gold in Job Skill Demonstration A and Plattsburgh’s CV-TEC Education & Human Services student Rebekah Riley (Beekmantown CSD) won gold in Job Skill Demonstration Open. Mineville’s CV-TEC New Visions Medical Careers student Emma Cook (Ticonderoga CSD) won gold in Medical Terminology. Mineville’s CV-TEC New Visions Medical Careers student Alessia Caputo (Boquet Valley CSD) won gold in Medical Math.
CV-TEC also celebrated the achievements of Mrs. Nicole Santaniello for being awarded 2023 NYS SkillsUSA Area III Advisor of the Year.
The national competition took place in late June. Cook was the bronze medalist in Medical Terminology. Corrigan placed fourth in Job Skill Demonstration A. Caputo placed 21st in Medical Math. Riley placed 12th in the preliminary round for Job Skill Demonstration Open.
Students have different ways to compete at SkillsUSA, which also means they have different ways to prepare.
For Cook and Caputo, their competition was based around a test, so they studied in a more traditional sense with repetition and memorization of problems and terms.
Cook studied more than 2,000 terms and anatomy components for her Medical Terminology competition. Her New Visions teacher, Dr. Todd Menia, is a retired physician. Cook said his perspective is different than what most students would receive, and she believed this helped her.
The drive and desire to do well fueled Cook’s studying.
“The pressure was on because we’ve had a lot of medalists in the Medical Terminology competition come from our class,” Cook said. “In 2021, we had a third-place winner, and in 2022, we had a second-place winner.”
The pressure was on for Caputo as well, but in a different way. She was the first person from Mineville CV-TEC to compete in Medical Math. She studied on her own, looking up conversions and dosages. Some of the work covered by Dr. Menia also helped her.
“It’s really nice to be the trailblazer Rebekah Riley & Amara Corrigan Alessia Caputo & Emma Cook 8 of this whole new competition,” Caputo said. “It feels really good to know that I won gold, and I did it myself and I can help future students reach the place where I am right now.”
For Corrigan and Riley, their preparation looked different. They had to present to judges about a topic. So, they rehearsed their speeches and prepared their presentation boards.
Corrigan competed in Job Skill Demonstration A, which means it had to be a baseline skill in her CTE program. She decided to present on Infant CPR, where she covered performance methods, the importance of infant CPR and things to know.
Riley’s competition allowed presenters to pick any topic, even ones that didn’t relate to her CTE program. However, she stayed true to her program and discussed the importance of reading to children. She talked about how kids learn life skills, social and emotional skills and about families and different people through books.
“I went to regionals, but preparing for States was definitely more stressful because I wanted to make sure everything was perfect,” Riley said. “I had everything memorized, so that was a big stressor.”
The regional award ceremony happened on Friday. Students sat in rows and rows of bleachers. Each school sat in their assigned zone section.
“There was a lot of grandeur, and it was very dramatic,” Cook said about the ceremony. “I felt good about the test, so I was really hoping I’d win the gold medal. When I won, the first person I looked for was Dr. Menia because he encouraged me to do the competition and to explore my passions.”
The excitement and celebration of winning gold was universal for CV-TEC students. They screamed, jumped up, hugged someone and excitedly walked up to the stage.
“Just to be awarded my medal when I was walking up on stage was unreal,” Caputo said. “I can’t describe the feeling. It was probably one of the best moments in my academic career.”
For Corrigan, this was her second time winning gold. She called her mom after and said, “I think I’m actually good at this.” She proved to herself that it wasn’t “beginner’s luck” that took her to the top, but her skill.
Riley wanted someone to pinch her to make sure she wasn’t dreaming when she heard her name called for the first-place winner of her competition. “I FaceTimed my dad, and he cried,” Riley said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen my dad cry for something he was so proud of me accomplishing.”
PRIDE IN THEIR SCHOOL
CV-TEC competes against large schools at SkillsUSA. Students felt such pride to hear their names called and to bring gold home to CV-TEC and their respective programs.
“I feel like people don’t think about it as much as we do. They think we just color with kids all day, but in reality, we are doing complex stuff,” Corrigan said. “We are learning about developmental theorists. We are understanding why children develop the way they do. We’re learning how to do lesson plans. We are prepared to go into the field. I am proving we are doing it right at CV-TEC and that I have supportive teachers who help me.”
Caputo also loves the support and opportunities that CV-TEC has brought her.
“It just goes to show you that New Visions is so beneficial for people, even if you aren’t sure you want to go into the medical field,” Caputo said. “It can lead to many successes and new possibilities. It means the world to me that I got to do this for CV-TEC, and it makes me happy that I had CV-TEC supporting me.”
The gold medalists held CV-TEC with high regard, and they hope other students see the benefits in competing at SkillsUSA.
“It feels good because we get our name out there and people realize we can actually win even though we come from a small area,” Riley said about winning gold for CV-TEC.
After winning gold, CV-TEC students weren’t able to relax alongside the rest of their senior classmates. They were given new scopes for the national competition, which was held in Atlanta. They had to pre
pare to face 49 other gold medalists from across the country. Some of these students, like Corrigan and Riley, missed their district graduation in order to compete.
For Corrigan, this was her second time going to the national competition. Last year she placed 13th in the nation, and she was three points away from getting a callback. This year, her goal was to place in the top 10 and get a callback.
Riley’s goal was to also get a callback, but she looked forward to spending more time with Corrigan and her teachers in a new place far from home.
Caputo and Cook took one test, like at the regional competition, and waited for the results at the ceremony.
“My biggest goal right now is to do better than regionals because I know if I can do that, then I could win,” Caputo said. “It will take a lot of preparation, and I’ll have to be a well-rounded competitor.”
Cook continued to push herself to memorize more terms and perfect questions she wasn’t confident in. She was excited for Atlanta because it’s an opportunity to push herself further.
“Please join SkillsUSA,” Corrigan said for students in CTE programs. “You learn leadership and workplace skills, and you get to compete. You might not think you can win, but I won gold in my first competition. Plus, there are so many fun things through SkillsUSA, like Cookie Fridays.”
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