EMCC student representing Miss. earns gold medal at SkillsUSA, beating out competitors across the nation

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> MAYHEW — East Mississippi Community College student Nick Ferrell of West Point beat out competitors from colleges and universities across the U.S. to take top honors in the SkillsUSA Championships in the Automotive Services Technology division.
> The national championships took place June 20-24 at the 52nd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky.
> “It will definitely be one of the highlights of my life,” Ferrell said. “I will never forget it.”
> Ferrell, 25, was awarded tools, a laptop computer and automotive software worth several thousand dollars and, as the school with the first-place winner, EMCC will receive a car that can be used by the automotive department for training purposes.
> Ferrell earned a shot at the national championships in March after taking first place in the Mississippi SkillsUSA competition in Jackson. He was the only competitor from Mississippi to win a gold medal in the national championship.
> “We are really proud of Nick,” EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said. “He not only did an excellent job representing EMCC during the national championships, but the state of Mississippi as well. His accomplishment is a testament to the quality of students at EMCC and in our state and to the outstanding education available to those who live here.”
> At the SkillsUSA Championships, more than 6,000 career and technical education students –– all state contest winners –– competed hands-on in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields. SkillsUSA Public Relations Manager Jane Short said students who make it to the contest represent the best in the nation.
> “These are students who have come through district and state competitions to compete at the national level,” Short said. “This is the only contest of its kind and students who make it here represent the best in the nation.”
> During the championships, students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts.
> In the Automotive Services Technology division, competitors worked through 13 different stations to diagnose and perform automobile repairs in categories such as transmissions, electrical trouble-shooting and steering and suspension. They also had to complete a written exam.
> Ferrell said he ran into some trouble at the engine mechanical station and feared it may have cost him a shot at placing in the top three.
> EMCC Automotive Services Technology Instructor Dale Henry said he too was a bit concerned and was on edge when the award winners were to be announced at a banquet held the last night of the conference.
> “We thought we were in the running but we weren’t sure,” Henry said. “When they announced the third place winner and then the second we thought we had lost out. When Nick’s name was called for the gold medal we were speechless.”
> Ferrell, who is one class shy of earning an associate’s degree in Automotive Services Technology at EMCC, works as a mechanic at Mitchell Automotive in West Point.
> “I don’t think I could have gotten a better education anywhere in the Automotive Services Technology field,” Ferrell said of EMCC. “The quality of the instructors and the equipment used for training is outstanding.”
> EMCC Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Navigator Greta Miller said the championship win “couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
> “We are so proud of Nick,” Miller said. “He went to the SkillsUSA Championships last year and came really close to placing.”
> Three students from EMCC’s Welding & Fabrication Technology program also competed at the SkillsUSA Championships. They are Dayton Reynolds of Starkville, Lane Greggs of Columbus, and Dale Chancelor of Macon.
> Like Ferrell, those students took top honors in the Mississippi SkillsUSA competition and represented the state in the national championships in the Welding Team Fabrication category.
> “I am really proud of my guys,” EMCC Welding instructor Gary Gammill said. “They did really well just to get to the national competition. They weren’t just competing against community colleges but against some students in technical programs at four-year universities. Every year the highlight of our program is to go to the state competition and do well.”
> As for the car EMCC will get?
> “We are not sure what it will be, but we understand General Motors will donate a Camaro, Corvette or Cadillac Escalade, something along those lines,” Henry said. “It will be a really nice training car.”
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> East Mississippi Community College student Nick Ferrell, center, beat out competitors from colleges and universities across the U.S. to earn a gold medal in the SkillsUSA Championships in the Automotive Services Technology division. Here, Ferrell works on a car during a class at EMCC along with Tim Lamb, at left, and Josh Cummings, at right.
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EMCC+SkillsUSA+winner

EMCC+SkillsUSA+winner