SkillsUSA team takes 10 state medals

SkillsUSA team takes 10 state medals

Staff Writer

CHS’ SkillsUSA team returned from last weekend’s statewide competition located in Somerset, NJ with four gold medals and three each of gold and silver, advisor Kelly Harmon said.

Students competed either in small groups or individually against pools of dedicated competitors that averaged about 20 in number. Their areas of expertise ranged from Graphic Communications to Related Technical Math, skills that were challenged by a variety of tasks that participants described as both challenging and exciting.

“It was definitely pretty intense,” said senior Mike DeSocio of Lincroft, who took home gold in Photography. “I had to work hard to keep up.”

From Left, Jacob Vernick, Brendan Gosse, Abby Skorupski and Emily Forcillo take gold in the Broadcast competition. Photo by James Gleason.
From Left, Jacob Vernick, Brendan Gosse, Abby Skorupski and Emily Forcillo take gold in the Broadcast News competition. Photo by James Gleason.

According to Harmon, CHS is usually consistent in the amount of winners it produces, but the extent CHS’ success came as a surprise to some.

“It was awesome because we were all just sitting there and they kept announcing competitions and people just kept winning them,” said first place Prepared Speech winner and CHS junior Olivia Reizer of Wall, smiling at the memory.

Another gold medalist, sophomore Francesca Reznik of Ocean, felt so sure she would not win her Job Interview challenge that she returned home instead of attending the awards ceremony. She later received news of her victory over Twitter.

For Reznick, Reizer, and DeSocio, as well as juniors Brendan Gosse of Leonardo; Emily Forcillo of Manasquan; Jacob Vernick of Ocean; and Abby Skorupski of Howell, who collectively won CHS’ fourth gold in Broadcast News, the competition may continue with an optional trip to Nationals in Kansas City, M.O. this June.

The club’s next major hurdle will be to fund the trip, which usually costs about $700 per student. In previous years, the competitors have received funding from the Monmouth County Vocational School District as well as scholarships and CHS’ PSFA. However, Harmon told the students that extensive fundraising and out-of-pocket expenses will be necessary to cover the balance.

The seven students must each officially decide whether they will attend the competition by Monday. Most are already set on going, despite the fact that they will miss the final week of school. The competitions take place from June 24 to 29.

But for DeSocio, the sole senior among them, the trip is not an option: it would require him to miss his own graduation.

A SkillsUSA participant since freshman year and a photographer who has won multiple awards on a national level, DeSocio said that his hard work “paid off in a big way.”

“I do feel bad about not being able to go to nationals, but I really had no control over Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in the extension of the school year and the conflict with Nationals. I wish I could go, but nonetheless I am thrilled with my victory here in New Jersey.”

The full list of CHS winners is as follows:

GOLD: Mike DeSocio – Photography; Olivia Reizer – Prepared Seech; Francesca Reznik – Job Interview; Brendan Gosse, Emily Forcillo, Abby Skorupski, and Jacob Vernick – Broadcast News

SILVER: Danielle Leung – Graphic Communications; Nina-Marie Amadeo – Extemporaneous Speaking; Catherine McLean – Related Technical Math

BRONZE: Tim Viola and Noah Gorstein – Audio/Radio; Mike Magovern – Graphic Communications; Cassidy DeStaefano and Max DeGeorge – Digital Cinema