Norris Students attend 2017 SkillsUSA National Conference

Norris Students attend 2017 SkillsUSA National Conference

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Norris Students and local Wayne State Student attend and compete at the 2017 SkillsUSA National Conference


Six SkillsUSA Norris students and their advisor headed to Louisville, Ky., this past June 19-23, for the 53rd annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), which is a showcase of career and technical education students. More than 16,000 people — including students, teachers and business partners —  participated in the weeklong event.


Norris High School Seniors- Trent Helms, Jack Wagner, Juniors- Brandon Garza, McKenzie Hall  CJ Jurgens, and Dustin Weaver  and adviser Jon Critser participated in the national conference along with Norris 2015 graduate Ryan Essink who is attending Wayne State. Ryan competed in Cabinetmaking. Ryan and Mr. Critser were able to meet and have lunch with Mike Rowe from the TV show “Dirty Jobs”.  Rowe presented Ryan with a Work Ethic Scholarship sponsored by his mikeroweWORKS Foundation. Mr. Rowe has called SkillsUSA “one of the best kept secrets in the USA”. Ryan placed 11th out of 20 contestants in the post-secondary cabinetmaking contest.


Helms, Wagner, Garza, and Hall competed in the Teamworks Competition. In that competition the students spend two days framing, plumbing, and installing electrical wiring in a mockup of a small room. There is also a small amount of brick and block laying. The team placed 13 out of 33 teams. Mr. Critser commented, “This was a great opportunity for our students to use the skills they have learned at Norris.  Our 4 Teamworks students not only competed against regular high school students but also high school career academy schools that a lot of districts are moving to.  Career academy students spend several hours a day learning a trade and our kids only get 50 minutes a day.  Fourteenth is not the finish we wanted or expected, but these students now know they can compete with the best in the nation.  I have always wanted to have a program where the students and I build a house, perhaps this is the building block to make that happen”.  


CJ Jurgens competed in the technical Drafting competition placing 30th out of 46. When asked about the conference CJ commented, “I would just say that it was a lot of fun meeting the new people and seeing all the competitions. It was also a good learning experience to know what to expect in industry and what we need to know for next year when we make it to nationals”.

Dusty Weaver competed in the power Equipment Technology competition and placed 25 out of 37. His comment was, “It was an absolute blast meeting people from all the states and competing against them”. Dusty also collected fifty + state trading pins which meant he was busy meeting people and learning the great art of “bartering”.