Volunteer students named 2020-21 SkillsUSA state officers

Jeff Bobo • Apr 12, 2020 at 7:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — The decision to cancel this year’s Tennessee SkillsUSA competition will deprive 21 Volunteer High School students of an opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level of competition, but two are poised to make a big impact next year. 

VHS criminal justice instructor Kevin Hilton told the Times News this week that the SkillsUSA Tennessee Leadership Conference scheduled for this month is canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, as is the National Leadership Conference scheduled for June.

Usually the state officers are elected at the state leadership conference by their peers. Because there weren’t any elections, the 2020-21 Tennessee state officer team was chosen by the Tennessee SkillsUSA Executive Council.

Rising seniors Ellie McLain, Jacob Smallwood and other candidates from across the state had to create a three-minute video of their campaign speeches and submit a written essay.

McLain was selected to lead the state team as the 2020-21 SkillsUSA Tennessee president.

“I’m beyond excited and honored to be chosen to lead the students of SkillsUSA,” McLain said. “I will work my hardest to set the best example for not only the new state officer team but also for every individual member of the 7,000 students of SkillsUSA. I thank you all greatly for all your help and support and can’t wait to get started with things.”

Hilton noted that this is the second time in Volunteer’s history that a student in the school’s criminal justice program has been selected to lead the SkillsUSA state officer team.

Smallwood was selected treasurer for the leadership team.

“I am greatly honored to be serving as the 2020-21 treasurer,” Smallwood said. “I am sure to make great outcomes through the year and furthermore empower SkillsUSA Students to be world-class workers.”

As for Volunteer’s other SkillsUSA competitors, unless they’re graduating they’ll have to hope things get back to normal in time for the 2020-21 competition.

“I would like to say how proud I am of all the students who studied, practiced, perfected their skill for this competition,” said Hilton. “These students were ready to win gold. There is a disappointment, but also an understanding about the dangers of the situation that we would be entering into. I would never want to endanger any student.”

Hilton added, “I am saddened for the VHS senior students who worked so hard for this opportunity; however, they know that this is not their only opportunity to do great things. I am excited now that these seniors will go out into this world and use the skills they have learned and make their mark on society. As for the returning students, the preparation that we focused on this year will help us next year.”

Here is the list of VHS students and the contest that would have competed at state.

Criminal Justice

Action Skills: Aedyn Mullins; Extemporaneous Speaking: Eliza Smith; Job Skills A: Atlee Dean with Madison Gillenwater; Job Skills O: Amelia Henriott; Prepared Speech: Leah Hostetler; Criminal Justice: Jacob Smallwood; Career Pathway Showcase: Garrett Armstrong, Elijah Whitehead, Jonah Price; and Chapter Business: Ellie Mclain, Hannah Johnson, Sarah Gonce, Alyssa Shelton, Curtis Robinnette, Lillie Redwine


Maintenance and Light Repair: Jaden Rockwell


Nail Care: Delanna Simmons

Community Service: Sydney Stratton and Josie Stapleton

Barbering: Haley Keene

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