Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA team three-peats in Casper


The Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA team three-peated at the State Leadership and Skills Conference last week in Casper. Many students have qualified to go to the Nationals in Atlanta later this summer. Skil2 Nathan VanNatter and Liberty Whitebird were seen constantly moving and working as members of the 2022-2023 state officer team

CASPER – A team that began a few years ago with eleven students has been transformed into a juggernaut by regional top adviser and Guernsey-Sunrise industrial arts teacher, Troy Reichert.

“We made our annual trek to Casper for the Wyoming SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference this past week,” Reichert said. “Our mission:  extend their streak of State Championships to three. Mission: Accomplished!”

Three junior high students and 18 high school students loaded the bus on Monday with hopes of attaining individual medals, as well as another 1A/2A state title.  Within hours of arriving at Casper College, the kids began competing against students from across the state in a variety of competitions.

With the Wyoming SkillsUSA membership over 800 this year, the competition was tougher, and more schools were on hand to vie for the state titles in 1A/2A, 3A and 4A.

“When the dust settled at the awards ceremony Wednesday morning at the Casper Events Center, Guernsey-Sunrise once again stood atop the 1A/2A pile with their third consecutive state championship,” Reichert said.

Winning gold medals and qualifying for nationals in Atlanta included the Community Service team of Paige Andrews, Rylie Thompson, and Leni Dimas.  The girls created a notebook and presentation about the work the chapter did this year with the cemetery sign, wreath stands, and holiday signs for the town of Guernsey and VFW Post 4471.  This marked the fourth straight year that Guernsey-Sunrise has reached gold in the community service competition.

The other gold medalist in the high school division was Jordan Atwood competing in Facilithon. 

“The facilithon competition challenges individuals to work through a series of scenarios as a facility manager and demonstrate to the judges that they know how to react in a stressful situation,” Reichert said. “Middle school gold medalists included Addisyn Saukkola in Job Skill Demonstration Open, and Alexis Atwood in Pin Design.  Both of these girls defended their middle school titles from last year, and were silver medalists at nationals last summer in Atlanta, Georgia.”  

Bronze medalists included Karley Lehman in Pin Design, and the team of Karley and brother Jaden Lehman in Digital Cinema Production.  Sam Baker took the bronze medal in middle school extemporaneous speaking, competing in the event for the first time.

Along with competitions during the three-day event, students also were able to attend an educational forum hosted by Kayleen McCabe, and participate in a community service activity assisting elderly Casper citizens learn how to make better use of their cell phones and tablets.  

Throughout the conference, Nathan VanNatter and Liberty Whitebird were seen constantly moving and working as members of the 2022-2023 state officer team.  Their terms ended at the conclusion of the conference, but Karley Lehman was sworn in as the newest member of the state officer team from Guernsey for the 2023-2024 school year.  

“This makes four elected state officers from Guernsey-Sunrise in the past three years,” Reichert said. “Dakota Conner was the first state officer from Guernsey during the 2021-2022 school year, and he was seen helping out last week at the conference as a member of the SkillsUSA alumni.”

Others who competed but didn't make the top 3 included:

Jack Baker and Dom Ramirez (Automotive Service Technology), Julian Rodriguez and Marcus Swingholm (sUAS drone flying), Berkleigh Pafford and Brooke Offe (Baking and Pastry Arts), Juliana Schiele (Job Skill Demonstration Open), Jaden Lehman, Shelbie Bowen, and Chloe Holbrook (Customer Service), Emmett Dawson (welding), Jordan Atwood (Pin Design), team of Jack Baker, Julian Rodriguez, Marcus Swingholm, Juliana Schiele, Berkleigh Pafford, and Jordan Atwood (Quiz Bowl), and Liberty Whitebird (First Aid/CPR).  

Although winning medals and state titles is a great show of success, Guernsey-Sunrise senior Paige Andrews (who proudly has SkillsUSA embroidered on her lettermans jacket) may have said it best about how SkillsUSA benefits the students.

"Overall, SkillsUSA has made me a better person,” Andrews said. "I have grown as a public speaker, been involved in many community service projects, and became a better leader through all of the experiences. Before SkillsUSA I thought of community service as a task, but now I see it as an opportunity. I'm grateful for all of it and can't wait for more at Nationals!"

Libery Whitebird, who served as a Wyoming SkillsUSA state officer this year, had a unique way of explaining how SkillsUSA impacts individuals.  

"If you ever feel too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito,” she said.  

With the fast growth of the chapter, Luana Whitebird went from being a volunteer for 2 years, to a paid co-adviser last year.  

"I can't believe how we have grown as a team and as individuals," Luana Whitebird said. "This year was an amazing year, as the students have found their comfort zones, but were also willing to step outside their boundaries. I'm looking forward to attending Nationals in Atlanta, to watch these students compete in the highest level of competitions. 

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out."  Which is the national SkillsUSA leadership and skills conference will be held June 19-23 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The 6 student competitors and 2 advisors are excited to attend, and thank the community of Guernsey and business/industry leaders for their continued support.


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