TCAT students earn SkillsUSA honors

The TCAT-Morristown SkillsUSA team won several awards Monday during the state competition, which this year was held online. First row, from left to right, Pablo Chavez, Chris Fox, Darren Aldred, Saydee Cliff; second row, Kobi Duck, Andrew Martin, Douglass James, Andrew Shotwell and Nova Chapin.

TCAT-Morristown walked away with a handful of medals Monday during the state SkillsUSA competition and three students will now be heading to the national competition held in the summer.

Darren Aldred, lead advisor for the TCAT-Morristown Skills USA team, said he was very pleased with the showing.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “We did really good.”

Three members won gold in their events: Matthew Scott in internetworking, Andrew Shotwell in aviation maintenance technology and Cody Hurley in welding.

Other students also placed. They included Kobi Duck, third in information technology services; Andrew Martin and Blake Daniels in cybersecurity; Pablo Chavez, second place in sheet metal; Chris Fox, second in appliance and refrigeration; Saydee Cliff, second in mechanical and Nova Chapin and Doug James, second in additive manufacturing.

Aldred said it was an accomplishment for the team considering the elements they faced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a lot more difficult this year because we had to do it all online,” he said. “It was extremely difficult.”

He said the preparation for each of the events was intense. He said for each event the school had to construct a set for the students that would be the same type of set up they would usually have at the state competition in Chattanooga, where it is usually held.

“There was a lot of preparation,” Aldred said.

They also had to set up two cameras, one to show the work and the other to show that the rules were being followed properly.

He said besides the students setting things up, other classes throughout the school also chipped in to help with the projects.

“We had to set up each individual competition and on top of that keep socially distanced...” Aldred said. “I think that speaks volumes for the students.”

Students also had to upload resumes on a web site, have links to the web page and provide links to the videos of their projects. They also conducted Zoom interviews with the judges.

The average time of videotaping each project took about four hours and one team spent a week completing their taping, he said.

He thanked TCAT President Jerry Young, Vice President Susie Cox, Michelle Davenport, co-lead and all the teachers and staff who helped with the skills team’s projects.

Scott, Shotwell and Hurley are now eligible for the national competition. Aldred said that will be held online this year as well.