SkillsUSA State Conference Results

Success Surrounds SWMetro at 2016 MN SkillsUSA Conference
Posted on 04/04/2016
SWMetro Photo Sweeps the Podium

SouthWest Metro Educational Cooperative sent 19 students to the 2016 Minnesota SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference April 1-3 in Bloomington. Of the 19 students who competed, 12 students took home medals, including two students who received multiple medals.

SWMetro students competed in contests related to design, cosmetology, photography, job readiness, and speech. The winner of each contest will have the opportunity to compete at the national conference June 20-24 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Isabel Lieb (Waconia) took first place in two contests: Pin Design and T-Shirt Design. Lieb also placed second in Advertising Design. Teron Oats (Shakopee) placed second in T-Shirt Design. Since Lieb placed first in two contests, she will attend nationals for Pin Design, allowing Oats to compete at the national level in T-Shirt design.

When asked how he feels about the opportunity to attend nationals, Oats replied, “Awesome! I learned that hard work pays off. I’m excited to meet other graphic designers at nationals.”

Taylor Thompson (Belle Plaine) placed first in Extemporaneous Speech and second in Prepared Speech.

SWMetro competitors swept the podium for Cosmetology. Madelyn Hovorka (Belle Plaine) was awarded the gold medal, followed by Jody Brandon (Shakopee) with silver and Rose Nichols (Shakopee) with bronze.

Hovorka not only took home a gold medal, but she also served on the State Officer team as Secondary Treasurer.

"I met so many great and interesting people. I can't wait to come back as Alumni. I am looking forward to Nationals and the remainder of my year as a State Officer representing SWMetro,” Hovorka said.

In Esthetics, Rozlyn Englen-Gurtz (Shakopee) and her model, Jody Brandon, took first place.

In Nail Care, Elizabeth Meyerhoff (Waconia) and her model, Hanna Aszmann (Prior Lake) placed second, while Precious Fuller-Rueschman (Chaska) and her model, Madelyn Hovorka, placed third.

SWMetro photography students also dominated the podium once again. First place was awarded to Katheryn Senger (Shakopee). Taryn Collins (Chaska) took second place and Milica Tolimir (Chanhassen) placed third.

John Raasch, Photography instructor and David Fuller-Rueschman, Cosmetology instructor and Lead SkillsUSA Advisor, had the honor of handing out medals to high school competitors, including their own students.

Raasch was also recognized as the 2016 Minnesota Advisor of the Year after being nominated by his colleagues and students through written essays.

This is Raasch’s 12th year as a SkillsUSA advisor. Throughout his years as an advisor, Raasch has helped 30 students obtain medals in their state competitions, sending 11 of them to compete at the national conference. Even at the national level, Raasch has seen a great deal of success in his students, with several placing in the top 10 competitors.

The awards kept coming Sunday, as SouthWest Metro was recognized with the Gold Chapter of Distinction Award. Fuller-Rueschman, along with Joan Berkland, Cosmetology teacher, and Cindy Walters, Director of Alternative Programs, nominated SWMetro for the award.

SWMetro SkillsUSA competitors participate in a number of events dedicated to service, which is an important qualification for the Chapter of Distinction Award. These events included a food drive, a pancake breakfast to raise funds to send students to state and national competitions, and Santa’s Workshop; a holiday sale of donated items in which proceeds were donated to SWMetro’s Adopt a Family program. Students also attended WeDay, “a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities,” according to

Nominations for this award were sent to the state and national SkillsUSA offices to be judged.

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving high school and college students, as well as professional members enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled and service occupations. SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is cited as a successful model of employer-driven youth development training program by the U.S. Department of Labor.