Portsmouth CTE Triumphs

Students Find Success at the SkillsUSA NH Challenge


Nathan Fletcher, Paperclip Staff/Writer

On March 14th through the 18th, the students of Portsmouth High School Career Technical Center showed up ready. Students across the state were selected by each school to compete in the 45th Annual SkillsUSA NH Leadership and Skills Competition.

The SkillsUSA competition is a non-profit national education association. It is set to ensure a skilled workforce for our country’s future. 

Automotive Technology instructor and SkillsUSA NH advisor, Dave Lily, had 4 students place in the top three. Gourmet club advisor and Culinary Arts instructor, Chef Beth Brown, also had a first place finisher. 

Seniors, Nick Kyrousis and Cal Puglisi took first and third place respectfully in the Power Equipment Technology category. 

Senior Adam Croteau took gold as well in the Automotive Service Technology. 

Junior Ethan Lantz left the competition with a third-place finish in Diesel Equipment Technology.

Senior, Betsy Townsend, was able to come out with a gold medal. Interestingly, Townsend’s boss, Chef David Vargas from Vida Cantina, was one of the judges for the competition. Not only did she have to handle the pressure from the competition itself but cook in front of her boss as well.  

When asked what it was like cooking for her boss, Townsend said, “it added more pressure but it was fun.”

On March 19th, all of the students, along with the teachers, traveled to Salem High School CTE for an award ceremony. The students from PHS who placed in the top three were rewarded with a medal. 

Gold medalist Croteau responded to his second time at the competition, along with what he will do to prepare: “I’m going to practice taking bugged or broken cars and diagnosing their issues under a rigid time limit, which is the most important part of the competition at nationals. Experience trumps everything, so I want to make sure I have as much actual experience as possible before I ship out to Atlanta.”

Gold medalist Kyrousis commented on what the environment and atmosphere were like for him while he was there:  “This wasn’t the first time I had attended the competition, so it was nothing new. I knew what the expectations were and what I needed to do. This is just what I enjoy doing.”

All gold medalists, Kyrousis, Croteau, and Townsend, are invited to the Skills conference that is to be held in June. The competition will be held in Atlanta Georgia with around 6,500 other contestants. 

Good luck to the contestants!