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M State Wadena students place at SkillsUSA contest

Six technical programs at M State Wadena walked into the 42nd annual SkillsUSA competition and brought home 12 medals at the state level. Students from computer and network technology, construction electricity, manicurist, cosmetology, electronics, and telecommunications competed against other two-year community and technical colleges along with four-year universities for the chance to bring home a gold medal and a trip to the national contest.

Over the course of the last two months students at M State Wadena have been preparing for one of the major academic challenges of their careers; the chance to prove their skills and knowledge against those across the state of Minnesota in various applications and projects in their program area.

The competition takes place over three days at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn., where students, depending on their program or testing area, are bused from metro high schools and metro colleges to complete their testing which normally consists of a written exam, a hands-on skill project and in some cases an oral interview.

After speaking with quite a few of the contestants, a majority agree that the competition was a nice way to compare the excellence of their education that they have received at M State-Wadena to those of other higher education institutions.

"All of our students did a fascinating job, we couldn't have asked for a better group of students," said Rory Wgeishofski, SkillsUSA coordinator and cosmetology instructor. "I reminded the students that the contest isn't about winning a medal, just competing puts their foot forward which shows a lot about a their character and abilities as an individual. These students will be very successful and will go great lengths in the work force." As M State Wadena sent 32 participants to the state level competition, 12 came back with medals, two with honorable mention awards and five students will continue on to the national contest in Kansas City, Mo., in June.

The list below notes all participants, their hometowns, and the competition they entered and competed in, along with their rankings:

• Cody Dahl, Underwood, Computer Networking, 1st Place

• Tyler Lane, Park Rapids, Telecommunications, 1st Place

• Darrin Watro, Detroit Lakes, Construction Blueprint Reading, 1st Place; Residential Wiring, Participant

• Sandy Johnson, Parkers Prairie, Manicurist (college level), 1st Place

• Shana Pietz, Staples, Manicurist (high school level), 1st Place

• Jeremy Miller, Staples, Electronics Tech, 1st Place

• Veronica Booker, Clarissa, Computer Networking, 2nd Place

• Malachi Maki, Sandstone, Telecommunications, 2nd Place

• Latoja Pikula, Brainerd, Cosmetology, 3rd Place

• Anita Chounard, Cushing, Electronics Applications, 3rd Place; Electronics Tech, 3rd Place

• John Uselman, Wadena, Telecommunications, 3rd Place

• Nomnae Pikula, Brainerd, Manicurist, Hon. Mention

• Ashley Goltz, Motley, Manicurist, Hon. Mention

• Matt Uselman, Spring Lake Park, Construction Blueprint Reading, Participant

• Emily Pete, Wadena, Construction Blueprint Reading, Participant

• Matt Kinnaman, Motley, Residential Wiring, Participant

• Grace Citrowske, Wadena, Electronics Application, Participant

• Bob Kasper, Wadena, Computer Networking, Participant