Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Remind App!

Get connected!  Stay connected!  Sign up TODAY!

The instructions are simple:
1.   Download the Remind app on any smart phone/device.
2.   To alleviate unnecessary messages, students have been grouped by their year of graduation.  
3.  Simply select your year of graduation and text the following message to the number 81010:
  • sophomores: @lcctc2019
  • juniors:  @lcctc2018
  • seniors:  @lcctc2017

Gemma Competes at Nationals!

Congratulations Gemma:  3rd Place in the
PA State Sporting Clays Championship
on June 18, 2016. 
If you listened carefully at the National Sporting Clays Championship, you'd hear a soft voice call "Pull" followed by a deafening (Bang!) ... (Bang!)  

You'd see a quickly-moving disk burst into a terra cotta cloud of gray quickly followed by another burst of gray.  You may recognize that gentle voice as Gemma Gatto, senior Health Assistant student, who was eligible to travel to the national competition in central Ohio to compete in the female varsity division after placing third in the 2016 Pennsylvania State Sporting Clay Championships.

In Gemma's competition, she shoots sporting clays.  There are seventeen stations laid out along the course; at each station, there are several different scenarios of clay birds being thrown in the air and on the ground.  Her target goal?  Accuracy.

When asked her favorite aspect of the sport, she replied, "The sport is 90% mental, so I need to study the target before I even get to shoot."  She enjoys the complexity of critical thinking when deciding how, when, and where to shoot.

Ryan Wehman & Gemma Gatto
Lawrence County Young Guns
An outstanding shot, Gemma shoots sporting clays for the Lawrence County Young Guns, a member of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. The aim of this organization is to teach "life lessons and skills that emphasize positive character traits and citizenship values."  SSSF welcomes well over 12,000 members, is active in over 42 states, and awards over $52K in scholarships each year!

During a break in events at
Nationals, Gemma assists a fellow
shooter in the 11 year-old  division.
This is leadership
in action!
How did she get her start?  "It's my dad's fault," laughs Gemma.  When he took on a leadership role with their local gun club, he involved Mia, Gemma's older sister.  After two years of badgering, According to Gemma, "I finally gave in and tried shooting, too.  I've loved it ever since."  She's at Young Guns practice twice a week, but, as a testament to her dedication to the sport, you'll hear backyard blasts from her shotgun about four times a week.  Now, shooting for the past two years, she competes with the Lawrence County Young Guns Club affiliated with the Lawrence County Sportsman's Association.  Mia also competed at the state level and brought home a silver medal to add to the family's collection.

But her involvement in LCYG isn't just a family affair; our very own Ryan Wehman, senior Electrical Occupations student, also enjoys shooting, as well.  Shooting with your friends -- even making new friends -- is part of the benefits.  The opportunity to network is abundant in competitive shooting.

Gemma takes her shot at Nationals landing her 17th of
the 75 young women in her division!  
What do these students learn within this organization?   Lawrence County Young Guns learn how to safely handle and care for their firearms.  They learn to skillfully shoot with precision.   They learn the "characteristics of honesty, good fellowship, self discipline, team play, and self-reliance."  Above all, they learn patriotism.

A lifetime sport, Gemma loves not only the travel; she also loves that this sport is a great sport for all ages.  "I will probably shoot until the day I die!"

If you'd like to see Gemma in action, click on the video below:


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

O & C Takes on Louisville and Brings Back the Bronze!

CONGRATULATIONS!  With a final score of 91.10%, our Opening and Closing team is third in the nation -- Yes, that's right...NATION!!!  AND they were awarded the prestigious Skill Point Certificate, a test that shows that they are "work force ready! (See the final picture for more info)  

To see the conference opening and closing (not the competition), click HERE to see the archives -- The initial announcement is at minute 41:13 and video of the medal placement is at minute 52:30.

Enjoy reflections from a few of our team members below:

Halle St. Clair:  Tuesday, June 21 ~ When I joined Skills USA Opening & Closing I NEVER imagined to be in Louisville, Kentucky getting ready to compete at the National level with my team right this very second.

First night on Fourth Street.  

Three years ago, some weird, tall lady came up to me and asked my name. After I told her it was Halle, well -- she decided it was going to be Katniss instead. After Ms. McVicker pretty much stalking me and begging me to check out ‘Skills,’ I decided to give it a shot, and oh God am I thankful.

First meal at the Hard Rock Cafe
Three years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined to make all of the friends that I STILL have today. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined to gain the confidence that I have now. Three years ago I would have NEVER imagined to be in Kentucky walking up to hundreds of new people starting conversations, asking to trade pins, and wishing them good luck with their competition.

Ready to have a great week
I’m so honored -- after three years of practicing every Tuesday, conducting meetings, and traveling to competitions -- that I’m in Kentucky for NATIONALS!  

I, no, WE did it. We made it here. We are here with all the other gold medalists from across the country getting ready to compete tomorrow.

I couldn’t be more thankful that the strange lady who calls me Katniss, introduced me to something that changed me from a timid, closed off girl, to a woman who is pursuing a career in Public Relations.

Hanging out with the Colonel
Kylie Smith: Wednesday, June 22 ~ “Take a deep breathe Kylie. You got this girl.” These words to myself have influenced my life since I joined SkillsUSA back in 2014. Today, I’m saying them to myself for, perhaps, the last time in my life.  If we don’t move on to the top 12, we’ll be done, and SkillsUSA will be a wonderful memory and an incredible learning experience.

Louisville welcomed us!

I never would have imagined my life the way it is today. I often get asked, “What does SkillsUSA mean to me?”  Way back in tenth grade, I remember Mrs. McVicker coming up to me locking arms and saying: “I want you on the team.”

I said, “Team? What team?”

She said, “Trust me.  You’ll love it.”  And soon enough, during my junior year, I joined one of the most amazing organizations. It was a rough start for me, always getting frustrated and upset when i couldn't master my speech, but it pushed me to do better and practice to be perfect. Once I mastered my speech, I learned to go out there and smile and have fun with it -- to let my confidence shine under any circumstance.

One of the activities:  Trading State Pins!  

Most of you ask what IS Opening and Closing? It is a team of seven members who conduct a scripted business meeting. With synchronized movements and warmth and love for SkillsUSA, our team traveled to Kentucky for the National Competition where we compete with thousands of other career and technical students from Maine to Florida, from Puerto Rico to the Navajo Nation, and from Hawaii and to even Alaska!  For our competition we were judged against thirty other Opening and Closing teams IN THE COUNTRY! In the country? Yeah, I get goosebumps, too.

Ready to sit in on the pre-meeting with thirty
other teams from across the nation! The
team met some really nice people from
states they may never visit, but the chance to
network is one of the perks of being here at
this top level.

There are so many Thank Yous to give out. First, to my team:  Without each and every one of you, I wouldn't be the person I am right now. We have been and will always be there for each other when times are tough or even when something great happens! We have made it so far in this competition. I never thought we would be sitting in Kentucky competing against 30 teams in the nation. I feel very lucky and fortunate to have met all of you, and and feel blessed to have experienced the impact you've had on my life.

Secondly, my advisors:  Ms. McVicker ~ an amazing teacher, and after graduation, a lifelong friend! Thank you for coming up to me in that hallway.  You’re right; I did love it. Thank you for always pushing me to do better. You’re amazing and deserve so much more than a Thank you!

The team is ready for the week to begin!

Mrs. Weisenstien and Mr. Goebel … (“John”) - Thank you for all your effort and your time put in to make sure that we can be able to attend our competitions, we have fun at our competitions, and we have all of these great memories for a lifetime!   I love you both so much!

The stadium is filling and the excitement is palatable!

Third, to LCCTC:  the students, our teachers, and Mr. Rich - Our school has been so kind to all of us to make sure we succeed and supporting us throughout our journey!

Lastly, to every member of the JOC school board:  Thank you for your continuous support. Your generosity to our team is what makes us smile and get through our competition knowing we have our school backing us up. Thank you so much!!

And Mike Rowe made an appearance!
Check it out here (1:35:42):

I really don't know how to end this article because I never want this chapter of my life to end, but I leave LCCTC and SkillsUSA with fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.  

Skylar Harris: Thursday, June 23 ~ I'm so happy to be where I am today. When I joined the team, I knew it would be special, but I never imagined it would be THIS special.

Skylar, first year senior, helps Jenna, second year junior,
make sure every hair is in place.
I've never worked so hard for something in my life, and I have learned that anything worth having is worth working hard for. I will take this lesson with me all of my life.

I would have never made it to this point without the members of our LCCTC Joint Operating Committee, Mr. Rich, my family, and most of all PJ and "McVic". I would like to give a big "Thank-You" to these two wonderful people because without them, this trip would have been possible, so "Thank You SO MUCH!" After we came out of the competition room, we all cried -- ALL OF US (Yes, Ms. McVicker -- but if I didn't know better, PJ's watery-eyed "allergies" and "contacts" problems only happened when he was proud of us -- and I'd say he cried, too!)

Halle covers up her tattoo
Now, here we are. We just finished our second competition for the week; one more competition round that I ever expected, and my very last time on the stage with my team. It's hard to believe I will never again share the stage with this group of amazing FRIENDS. The outcome of today, "We SLAYED it!" Any mistake that we made the day before was completely wiped away with our second chance. We don't always get second chances in life, but this time -- we did, and we made it count!

June 24: Jacob Troutman ~ "The Tie’s Letter" 
Hi, I'm Jake... and this is for my team: 

Kylie checks and double checks...
Saying that “I love you all so much” is an understatement. You all mean so much to me. This year that I've been with you has been so amazing that it's hard to comprehend. We've been a team for less than a year, but the memories will last a lifetime. 

Graduates: I'm going to miss you all so much. I really wish the best to you talented ladies. If you need anything from me, then please let me know. I have little to offer, but I swear I'd find a way to steal the moon if you asked. 

Skylar:  You and I were new to this, but we slayed. Out of everyone on the team, I'm glad that I started fresh with you because you've been an amazing, dear friend. I hope that we could meet up after all this, and continue our friendship because of how well we've killed it -- together. I love you, and for more than just that first awesome haircut. 
Kaitlyn watches it rain...and rain...

Kaitlyn: You're awesome. I love who you are as a person because you have such a great attitude; even when you are nervous, I've never seen you panicked over anything, and even have every reason in the world to be sad, you possess the talent and ability to absolutely blow people away. It's truly inspirational. I want to remember how incredible you are, and if I forget that, then I'm forgetting the best gift that has come in a small package. 

Kayla, Kayla, Kayla: You're so unique that it's lovely. You're interesting, you're unpredictable, and you're so fun to be around. It's hard to imagine a dull moment with you involved. The world would be a great place if everybody has half as much quirkiness as you. The world is a better place because you're on it. 

Kayla getting some finishing
touches with Kaitlyn's help
Jenna:  We're the babies. As the babies, I'm glad that we could still make some memories together. I love that I will still have you by my side, and it's going to be pretty insane for us to make a whole new team together. With what we know, we could easily do it. I look forward to it, and I'm glad to say that "I'll see you next year for one more shot at making such incredible memories like we've made this year."  

Kylie:  My Gawd. I love you, and you're insane. I wish there was more people like you in my life because I'd have an even better life than I have. Thank you for being part of mine, Kylie. It's always been great to have you there. 

President Halle passes the torch to
Jake who has one more year to go!
Halle: I love you. I'm honored to call you my leader. You're the strongest leader that I've ever had, so thank you for that. Thank you for everything. You've taught me a lot. You've proven that one could change from a little flower girl to a total bad apple. I'll take the memory of you forever because I'm a better person because of you. 

PJ:  Thank you. I've loved having you here. It means so much. This experience has been made so much better because of you. It means so much to me. I'm so happy that you're here. You've helped me out so much with everything from my knowledge of computers to straightening my tie and even my presentation on stage. I feel lucky to have you here, as would anyone, and I will always be grateful for all that you've done. 

The team is ready for the first round
On their way in to the convention center for the first
round of competition...  Our goal -- to make LCCTC and
the state of Pennsylvania proud.
Ms. McVick:  Where to begin? You were able to band together a small group of weirdos, have us say a few pledges, fall in love with them, make us fall in love with each other, and have one the greatest experiences ever. Honestly, none of this makes sense. Even though it makes no sense I continue to love it, and I love you. Thank you for getting me into this. I owe so much to you. You're the best adviser anyone could ask for. I wish you could teach me everything. I love you so much, Ms. McVick. Thank you so much for everything. 

I love you all.

@ this team...
They are so professional, but they're still kids...
Last-minute checks...
First year team members --
forever friends
Looking to the star in the sky!
Love this team.  Ready to go!
Traditional star...
On their way to compete with 30 other teams for the chance to 
advance to the finals (the top 12 teams)  Moments later, they 
returned, but the faces weren't happy.  

Of course, there are no pictures here -- it just wasn't right...

However, there were two "angels" who competed at
the post secondary level from a college in Georgia and had 
watched LCCTC compete.  These two followed the team out 
the door and with a combination of hugs, smiles, and great 
moral strength freely offered this:  "This moment will not define 
you; it will strengthen you and make you better for the experience."  
Their decision to speak words of encouragement to the team meant 
more than they will ever know.  There is more to the story -- you'll 
see it in the pictures at the very end of this blog
Having recovered from earlier, the team
decided to visit the SkillsUSA store.  Here --
Halle spotted a fellow SkillsUSA student and decided that
 he needed her signature, too.  That's on thing that 
SkillsUSA supports -- positive networking.  The 
outstanding sportsmanship during the competition 
was inspiring and it made the entire experience
 a lot of fun.  It seemed more popular to be kind than to be
 ruthless, and LCCTC embraced this attitude.
After a rough day with round one, Jacob
was there for Halle and made her cry
with a simple text message of
encouragement...  We saw this
type of action from our team
all week long.

Moments later, they all cried as we
heard that they had a second
chance to make it right.
And now, it's time for a little fun!

Selena Gomez concert tickets...
It's Kentucky -- there are race horses EVERYWHERE...
Dinner at The Spaghetti Factory...
And now, it's time to make sure they
take full advantage of second chances.

On the second day of competition (one
 more day than they thought they'd have),
 here we are again...making sure Jake is
This is a picture before they went in for competition.  They
are nervous, but determined to make sure they did what they
always do -- their very best.  And they did...  And it paid off...

They made it into the top 12 in the nation!!!  Holy cow!!!
They met their goal!! Anything more is icing on the cake!
...another star...

Brunch on Fourth:
This was one of our favorite meals.
We decided to eat "family-style"
so if you look, you'll see that
their hands are empty and the
cell phones are in the middle of
the table.  It was wonderful.
We were stuck under cover by order of the park on the previous
night for SkillsUSA Night, but because of our patience, we
scored "Rainy Day Tickets" for the next afternoon.  We
were awarded TWO second chances this week!
Ready for closing ceremonies.  At this time, they were hoping
to have scored well enough to make everyone proud and never
expected to see...
Holy COW!!!  They DID IT!!!  Top third team in the nation!!
A screenshot from the live feed:  41:13
Here is the link:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/88787856
Another screen shot from the live feed at  minute 52:30
Soooo beyond excited!!!
Here's the ending to the story from above:  The two pictured
hereare Leslie and Christie from Oconee Fall Line Technical
College in Dublin Georgia.  The team had never met them
before the first round of competition.  When we fumbled
a bit with consistency in placing the emblems and with a
"brain fart" in one of the speeches, we were devastated.  Not because we
were angry with the mistakes, but because we didn't want
to let down the rest of the team.  These two women rushed out
of the competition room behind our team and gave
such incredible, inspiring advice -- their words were a gift.  After
we found that we had a second chance to prove ourselves, our
first desire was to find these two.  For the next two days, we
kept our eyes peeled, but we never caught their names or
their state, so we were simply searching blindly.  Amazingly,
we DID find them -- in the medalists for the college level
of our competition (They were successful, too!!)  We all now
have forever friends and fierce supporters who admitted
that they, too  had been looking for us and praying for our
happiness and strength.  Leslie and Christie:  A simple
"Thank You" is not enough because of how
profoundly you have impacted our lives, but it's all we have,
so we give it freely and with great sincerity:  "Thank you."

"Can you believe it???!!!"
And here's the certificate they earned...
but if that wasn't good enough...

They also learned their scoring percentage:
91.10%  GREAT JOB!!!  But there's still one
more reason to celebrate...

As part of the Work Force Ready 
System, SkillsUSA will again award 
Skill Point Certificates in all 100 
contest areas to recognize 
outstanding achievements of contestants
 in addition to those who earn gold, 
silver and bronze medallions 
in the SkillsUSA Championships. The 
same industry leaders who defined the
competencies for the Championships 

determined a “cut score” that indicates 
excellence for students entering technical 
fields or leadership. Most cut scores
 range between 70 and 80 percent, 
and contestants who reach that 
level earn a Skill Point certificate. 
Each certificate lists the competency 
areas tested in the contest and 
carries the logos or the names 
of the organizations and companies 
that planned and managed this year’s 
competitions. Students can use
their certificates in an employment 

portfolio and as indicators of 
proficiency.  Each member of our
Opening and Closing Team earned
this certificate.
If you'd like to read more great news about LCCTC, click HERE.