Skills USA holds senior signing day

By Vicki Hood
Posted 5/14/24

GUERNSEY —There was a time, not long ago, that signing a Letter of Intent for post-high school education was the day that high school seniors looked forward to…but most of them were …

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Skills USA holds senior signing day


GUERNSEY—There was a time, not long ago, that signing a Letter of Intent for post-high school education was the day that high school seniors looked forward to…but most of them were focused on becoming the next star quarterback or point guard at a Division One sports power school.  And it’s a scenario not often found at high schools the size of Guernsey-Sunrise or even larger in the sparsely populated state of Wyoming. 

But as our population nation-wide grows, we are finding that there’s a far bigger demand for young people that are educated and job-ready for positions in the technical trades, services and healthcare than there are in the highly competitive world of professional sports. While not without its merits, a standard four-year degree isn’t necessarily required anymore to build a career that will support a comfortable lifestyle, marriage, a growing family and a secure retirement. And the best news is that employers and educators have joined forces to give high school students the opportunities to begin building those careers before they’ve even picked up their high school diplomas.

Last Tuesday, Guernsey-Sunrise hosted a Skills USA Signing Day ceremony for 15 Class of 2024 seniors who signed Letters of Intent to pursue a journey in a skilled trade. Family members and the community were invited to attend the ceremonies.  

The program opened with a presentation to students in grades 9-12 by the Wyoming Workforce on apprenticeships and internships that are available to high school students. Dan Benford, Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors in Wyoming, addressed the group about the opportunities available to high school students and has worked in AGC’s Workforce Development program since 2021. His background in education and family ties to Career and Technical Education advocates makes him a true asset to his work with schools and students.  

Troy Reichert, Guernsey-Sunrise technical trades instructor and advisor to the Vikings’ highly successful Skills USA chapter, also played a video regarding the Skills USA program. Competing with schools much larger, the Guernsey-Sunrise chapter recently won their fourth consecutive Class 1A/2A State Championship for outstanding chapter in Wyoming. The Skills USA program teaches a wide variety of the practical skills necessary to be successful in the workplace of technical trades. Students compete with members from across Wyoming and the U.S.

Reichert’s wife, Shawna serves as the director for the Platte County Chamber of Commerce and spoke briefly to the students about the numerous calls her office receives from individuals or businesses looking for plumbers, electricians and carpenters on a regular basis. She told those gathered, “Take advantage of these opportunities because the jobs are out there.” 

Superintendent Lisa Weigel then welcomed those attending and opened the signing ceremony with the recognition of students who have already completed or are near completing internships that were offered through the Guernsey-Sunrise Schools this year.

Those students included Shelbie Bowen, Chloe Holbrook, Berkleigh Mark, Brody Sterner, Jaden Lehman, Domonic Dimas, Tracy Chamberlain and Kris White. 

Juliana Schiele completed her CNA certification through the Platte County School District No. 2 and Eastern Wyoming College. 

Jack Baker, Brody Sterner and Tristan Hohnholt were recognized for their completion of obtaining their Commercial Driver’s Licenses. All three completed their training provided through PCSD#2 and Eastern Wyoming College. Kim Russell represented EWC with each of the students.

Aidan Noggle, Jaden Lehman and Dominic Dimas received certificates from the University of Wyoming for completion of the online construction management modules. Francois Jacob from UW presented their certificates.

Also shown was a short video recorded by Lakin Reichert, (Troy’s daughter and a graduate of Guernsey-Sunrise) who spoke directly to the students regarding the successful path she has taken that landed her a full-time job with a major contractor in Gillette. 

Seniors then came to the front, one by one, along with members of their families, institutional representatives and others of the students’ choice, to sign their Letter of Intent.

Shelbie Bowen to attend Casper College this fall with a focus on earning a welding and automotive service certification.

Brooke Offe to attend Casper College this fall to earn her certification as a Pharmacy Technician.

Berkleigh Mark to attend CasperCollege to earn certification as an Occupational Physical Therapy Assistant.

Kris White to attend Casper College this fall, studying Radiography to become an X-ray technician.

Juliana Schiele to attend Casper College this fall to continue her education in the nursing program. She is currently using her CAN certification for employment at Platte County Legacy Home in Wheatland.

Tracy Chamberlain to attend Eastern Wyoming College to begin studies toward a Veterinary Technician certification.

Chloe Holbrook to attend Eastern Wyoming College to begin studies toward a Veterinary Technician certification.

Rylie Thompson to attend Laramie County Community College this fall where she will study Biology. She will then apply that degree toward a career in Crime Scene Investigation.

Jack Baker to attend Laramie County Community College this fall to study diesel mechanics and welding. He aspires to own his own trucking business within 10 years.

10. Dawson Bingham has begun enrollment process to become an electrician through the JATC program in Casper, where he hopes to earn his journeyman license.

 11. Aidan Noggle was hired last week for a paid apprenticeship with Hensel Phelps Construction. He will be working on their job site at Camp Guernsey, focusing on the business and project management roles within the company.

12. Brody Sterner has been hired by Oftedal Construction where he will be using the CDL he earned this year through the EWC/PCSD No. 2 partnership.

13. Jaden Lehman has decided to work with major electrical power and will pursue a career as a lineman.

14. Domonic Dimas will join the workforce after graduation. He has secured an interview with Oftedal Construction and hopes to work in construction and utilize his skills as a mechanic.

15. Tristan Hohnholt plans to pursue a career as an electrical lineman following graduation.