Northeast Tech Afton student competitors to represent Oklahoma at national competitions during May and June.

AFTON – Thousands of students from across the nation have been competing in state-wide contests as part of their chosen CareerTech Student Organization, and 11 students from the Northeast Tech Afton Campus will represent Oklahoma at the national competitions during May and June.

SkillsUSA, Business Professionals of America (BPA) and the HOSA Future Healthcare Professionals are just three of several CareerTech Student Organizations available to students nationwide. Each organization hosts local, state and national competitions in which students put their trade skills to the test against peers from across the country.

“Our board and instructors realize the importance of these competitions, not only for the skills and professional networking opportunities it brings to the students but also because it expands their world a little bit,” said Northeast Tech Superintendent Fred Probis. “For that reason, our district sends a number of students to the national competitions each year.”

Among those going to the SkillsUSA National competition in Louisville are seven students from the Afton Campus. Representing the welding, cosmetology and marine service technology programs, these seven students will represent not only their local district but the entire state of Oklahoma.

Welders Jonathan Swartz (Langley), Bryce Waybright (Fairland), and Dylan Hayes (Vinita) will work as a team to complete a timed fabrication project, while their classmate Dylan McClain (Wyandotte) will present his welding sculpture to the judges. Meanwhile, in another area of the massive competition arena, Alex Miers (Vinita) will compete in the nail care competition, while students Daniel Simpson (Miami) and Matthew Baudendistel will complete the various tasks involved in the marine service technology competition.

“I’m most nervous about all the people that are going to be there, and also about giving the speech,” said Miers. “But, I’m also looking forward to meeting new people, getting to see everyone’s nails as we compete, and getting to see firsthand what nationals is all about.”

Representing Oklahoma at the BPA competition in Dallas will be Gunner Colvin (Vinita) and Kayla Andrews (Chelsea). These students will compete in the entrepreneurship and fundamentals of desktop publishing competitions, respectively.

“I’m looking forward to knowing that all the hard work and preparation that I have done will pay off,” said Colvin who is competing in the entrepreneurship category at BPA Nationals. “I have worked for many long hours at home and at school to know all of my material.”

And rounding out the Northeast Tech delegation of competitors are Taylor Brown (Jay) and Baylee Sweeten (Quapaw) who will travel to Dallas in June to compete in the HOSA National Competition. Brown will represent Oklahoma in the extemporaneous writing competition category, while Sweeten is hoping to bring home a national championship in the clinical specialty competition

“The hardest part of this competition was going into this event without prior knowledge of my essay topic,” Brown said. “I found it difficult to prepare for the unknown, but thankfully it all worked out great and I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.”

Her classmate, Baylee Sweeten is equally excited about nationals.

“It feels like a great honor, and I am proud to support the school and the state of Oklahoma,” Sweeten said.

Afton Campus Director Dr. Curtis Shumaker has been present at many of the local and state competitions, and he’s hoping the students’ success will continue at the national level.

“I am immensely proud of what our students and their instructors have accomplished already this year, but I have a feeling they’re not done yet,” Shumaker said. “Our students are smart, hardworking, and incredibly talented, and I fully expect them to shine at nationals, just like they have all year long.”