Wallace State students win two SkillsUSA gold medals and six medals overall at national competition

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Winning medals for Wallace State at either the SkillsUSA national or state event were, from left, William Pugh, Chase Blakey, Andre Shepherd, Darana Campbell and William Buzbee.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College students Jacob Humphrey, Chase Blakey and Benjamin Brownlee each earned gold medals at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., over the weekend, collecting the first gold medals for the college since 2009.  

Humphrey won gold in the Welding competition and Blakey and Brownlee teamed up for a gold in the Mobile Robotic Technology. 

Wallace State’s recognition didn’t end there, as the college won a pair of silver and bronze medals. 

Winning silver medals were Darana Campbell, William Pugh and William Buzbee for the Chapter Display category and Zachary Glenn, Ashley Chambers and Kristy McKerley in the Crime Scene Investigation competition. 

Nathan Robinson won a bronze medal in Related Technical Math for Wallace State, and Sydney Swafford and Richard King also earned bronze in Robotics and 

Automation Technology.  

“We’re proud and ecstatic for all of our students winning medals. Wallace State continues to shine in SkillsUSA on the state and national level,” said Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State Dean of Applied Technologies. 

Humphrey, 20, began participating in SkillsUSA events while in high school at Brewer and hasn’t stopped. He won a state SkillsUSA championship in high school and enrolled in Wallace State’s welding program last summer. Humphrey competed in the American Welding Society/SkillsUSA world competition last fall before winning a state SkillsUSA gold medal for Wallace State in April. 

Humphrey, an Eva native, is the second Wallace State welding student to earn a national gold medal, joining Joey Foster in 2009. 

“Winning at nationals is definitely a big achievement and something I’ll always be proud of. It’s also a great resume builder. I’m thankful for Wallace State and the instructors I get to work with. It feels great to pay it back to the college with this gold medal,” Humphrey said.  

Hodges is in awe of Humphrey’s talent in the welding shop. 

“Jacob Humphrey’s medal proves the quality of our welding students and the program’s consistency. Jacob is a fine young man inside and outside the welding booth and has a great passion for his skill. He’s destined to do great things in the welding profession. I can’t wait to see where it leads him,” Hodges said. 

Meanwhile, Blakey and Brownlee won gold in Mobile Robotic Technology. Teams in the category had to put together an engineering notebook and explain the design, programming and functionality of a robot in addition to earning points for programming and driving skills.   

“It’s an honor to win a gold and bring it back to this state and Wallace State. It’s been very exciting,” said Blakey, a pre-engineering sophomore. “We knew we had a good chance to win a medal, but I wasn’t sure if we could win gold. We were told our engineering notebook proved to be the difference.” 

Campbell, Pugh and Buzbee helped Wallace State medal in Chapter Display for the second year in a row, improving from a bronze to a silver. All three are Machine Tool Technology students. 

Wallace State’s Criminal Justice Department continued its strong run at nationals by earning a silver.  

The bronze medal won by Swafford and King marked the second consecutive year the Mechatronics/Electronics Technology program produced a national medal, and Robinson, another Machine Tool Technology student, also brought home a bronze.  

Wallace State sent 28 students to the national event after having a record-high 71 individuals earn a medal at 2019 state competition, including earning 31 golds. 

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.         

For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu

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Pictures: 

Wallace State’s Jacob Humphrey became the second welding student to earn a gold medal at the SkillsUSA national competition. 

Wallace State student Chase Blakey teamed up with Benjamin Brownlee to win a gold medal in the Mobile Robotic Technology event. 

Winning medals for Wallace State at either the SkillsUSA national or state event were, from left, William Pugh, Chase Blakey, Andre Shepherd, Darana Campbell and William Buzbee. 

Winning silver in the Crime Scene Investigation category were, from left, Kristy McKerley, Ashley Chambers and Zachary Glenn. 

Wallace State Mechatronics students Sydney Swafford, left, and Richard King won a national bronze medal in the Robotics and Automation Technology event.