Fifteen Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) students competed at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference against thousands of career and technical education students from the United States in Atlanta, Georgia from June 19-23, 2023.
The students tested their skills as they worked against the clock and other competitors to prove their expertise in various industries including mechatronics, masonry, cosmetology, automotive service, cabinetmaking, and television (video) production. Industry partners run these events guided by the competencies that are demanded by their industry. Three students from BCTC were named the top three in the nation and awarded a bronze medal for their talents and knowledge of their skills.
Rising senior Isaac Kremer, BCTC Mechatronics Engineering Technology/Daniel Boone Area School District and 2023 graduate Trevor Bilodeau, BCTC Mechatronics Engineering Technology/Wilson School District students came in 3rd in the nation for the Mechatronics competition.
The Mechatronics team contest required competitors to have the ability to understand complex systems that integrate various elements in the mechanical, fluid power and controls domain, combined with the ability to work in a team environment with people from different areas of expertise.
The competition consisted of three events designed to measure the skills required in the modern automated manufacturing environment. Competitors are required to assemble, adjust, and test an automated machine system, troubleshoot, and repair a faulty machine system and take a comprehensive written test. The competition elements have been designed to be as realistic as possible, closely resembling the tasks and activities of modern automation professionals. In addition, there was an individual oral interview.
Samuel Berryman, BCTC Masonry/Brandywine Heights Area School District and 2023 graduate was awarded the bronze medal for his skills in Masonry. Masonry competitors constructed a composite brick and block project in a six-hour period that tested their ability to meet industry standards in quality. In addition to a written exam, students are judged on the most frequently used details in masonry construction.
“BCTC is extremely proud of all the student competitors. The students had to come in first place at the SkillsUSA district and state contests before they were even allowed to compete at the national level,” stated Dr. Michael Stauffer, BCTC Executive Director. “To have three BCTC students as the nation’s top three in their respected field reflects the work and commitment our students and instructors have year-round.”
BCTC provides high-quality technical education and career preparation to 16 public school districts, nonpublic schools, and adults. BCTC operates two campuses in Leesport and Oley and is governed by a Joint Operation Committee comprised of School Board Directors from each of the 16 sponsoring school districts. BCTC was founded in 1968 and is regarded as one of the premier career and technical education facilities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.