Two CTE Students Placed First in the Skills USA State Finals

Now they’re looking forward to competing at the national level!


Photo by Damian Walsh

Pictured here from left to right: Mr. Pizzuto, Madison Feely, Grace Attisano, Ashley Lucero, Marshall DeJesus, Mr. Walsh, Thomas Gessner, and Eloise Portal, in Syracuse looking forward to the Skills USA state finals.

Recently, a few Patchogue Medford students from the CTE program had the opportunity to compete in the state finals competition for Skills USA. Two of those students placed first in their skill-specific competitions, and they’re hoping to compete at the national level. 

Mr. Walsh, one of the advisors, explained that Skills USA is an organization that “promotes the skilled labors, like carpentry, automotive, culinary, and business.” This program helps support and promote students in their areas of expertise for their future endeavors.  

This all started back in March when a group of seventeen Patchogue Medford students originally competed at the regional competition at Suffolk community college. Some of the categories students competed in included carpentry, criminal justice, early childhood education, medical assisting, and more. Of these 17 students, 7 placed at the regional level and were entitled to travel to Syracuse to compete in the state level competition. 

At the state level, every school that offers CTE programs and BOCES programs participates in this competition. According to Mr. Walsh, this year was the “largest competition they had in Syracuse.”  

Of the seven students who competed at the state level, two students earned first place within their categories. After competing with 17 other students in his category, Marshall DeJesus won first place for the job application and interview competition. He trained with Mrs. Disponzio to develop his portfolio, resume, and refine his interview skills.  

Additionally, Thomas Gessner placed first in the carpentry category out of 27 other students. He has been in the carpentry program for two years, and he has been preparing ever since he started for this competition. Mr. Walsh wishes them both congratulations to them both for their achievements after much dedication and effort. 

After winning the state finals, DeJesus and Gessner are hoping to compete on the national level at the competition in Atlanta, Georgia, where they would compete against the best kids from every other state in the country. Mr. Walsh says this is “very exciting because we’ve never been there before.” Competing at the national level provides them with the opportunity to win scholarships, large prizes, and other items. 

He also mentioned that this is only Patchogue Medford’s second year participating in the Skills USA competition, and their accomplishments are impressive because “there are other school districts who have been in the Skills program for years and they never make it to nationals.” Patchogue Medford had been given the opportunity to compete on the national level last year, but unfortunately the competing student was unable to attend the competition. 

Mr. Walsh would like to acknowledge the program’s co-advisor, Mr. Pizzuto, all the dedicated CTE teachers “who help students prepare and push them to compete”, the motivated students who refine their skills to compete, who have allowed the Patchogue Medford CTE program to accomplish so much in only two years.