Two North Point High School Class of 2015 graduates placed in the top national spots at the 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) held in Louisville, KY last week. An additional 16 North Point Skills USA students placed in the top 10 in their respective categories. More than 6,000 students nationwide competed at the event in 89 career and technical education (CTE) competitions.

Nicholas Wiegand, a 2015 North Point graduate, earned a gold medal in the Electrical Construction Wiring category. Gold medals are the highest award given in the event. Alyssa Gonnella, who also graduated from North Point this year, received a silver medal award in the Early Childhood Education category. Silver medals are the second highest award a student can receive. Wiegand and Gonnella are two of only 22 students from Maryland who earned a gold-, silver- or bronze-level award at the national level.

The following North Point students placed in the Skills USA national top 10 in their respective categories:

  • Leah Pennington, Alyssa Raqueno and Jenna Williams, seniors, fifth place, Community Service;
  • Erin Green, Sarah Jones and Maya Kidane, 2015 graduates, sixth place, Outstanding Chapter;
  • James Adkins, Luke Gibson and Dennis Whitley, IV, seniors, Skye Corbin, junior, and Joel Rogers, 2015 graduate, seventh place, Quiz Bowl;
  • Patricia Atkinson and Dylan McCabe, seniors, and Stephanie McCarter-Dadzie, 2015 graduate, seventh place, Crime Scene Investigation;
  • Daphine Henderson, senior, seventh place, Welding Sculpture; and
  • Suha Ansari, senior, ninth place, Career Pathways – Health Sciences.

Skills USA students advance to the national level of competition as first-place medal winners at the state event. More than 5,100 students in Maryland participate in Skills USA and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) coordinates two state events annually to prepare students for national competition.

Skills USA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure a skilled work force. The organization serves more than 300,000 high school and college students, as well as professional members, nationwide. Skills USA competitions showcase the talents of CTE students. The students compete locally and continue through the state and national levels. The philosophy of the competition is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to train students for employer needs.

Skills USA provides experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. The organization focuses on quality at work, high ethical standards, superior work skills, lifelong education and pride in the dignity of work. For more information, visit the Skills USA Maryland Web site at