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THINC Academy students finish high at national championships

Recently, robotics students from THINC College & Career Academy were ranked among the top in the nation after competing against thousands of teams in the SkillsUSA National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. The THINC team of Devin Joyce and Shay Griffin earned second place in the Humanoid Robotics category. And the team of Grace Ingram and Savanna Scott — the first all-female Mechatronics competition team in history — took fifth place in Mechatronics.

Other THINC teams also competed and brought home top rankings. Noah Saxon and Alex Holloway placed 18th in the nation in the Urban Search and Rescue Robotics competition. Jerry Chadwick and Terence Ashton came in 27th in the Mobile Robotics category.

“I’m so proud of our students’ achievements in the National SkillsUSA competition,” said THINC Mechatronics and Manufacturing Instructor Joe Sumner. “All their hard work throughout the year has definitely paid off. And for the upcoming school year, we’re excited to have Scott represent THINC and all the SkillsUSA members around the country. THINC student accomplishments have been making a difference not only here in Troup County and Georgia, but also throughout the nation.”

The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. The national competition is an annual multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields, with more than 6,000 contestants in 100 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible. And a massive amount of equipment and materials are required for the event: 1,000 computers, 50 trucks, 9,500 bricks and 1,500 blocks, 60 stoves, and complete laboratories for machining, welding, auto repair and painting. The philosophy of the Championships is to “reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.”

THINC’s SkillsUSA national recognition is already continuing into the upcoming school year. THINC student and Troup High School senior Scott Hicks will be serving as the National High School Vice President for SkillsUSA. “I have been looking forward to this opportunity for 13 years, and I am so glad that it’s finally coming to fruition,” said Hicks. “I am excited to serve the 400,000 members of SkillsUSA as the National High School Vice President for the upcoming school year. I look forward to promoting the importance of SkillsUSA at our nation’s capital as well as around the country.”

According to SkillsUSA, “Being a national officer is one of the highest honors a student can achieve in SkillsUSA. It can also be one of the most rewarding experiences for a student. We ask that potential candidates be dedicated to SkillsUSA, possess excellent communications skills such as public speaking (or at least be willing to learn), display professionalism, be able to work well as part of a national team, be responsible and able to handle one’s self appropriately in many different situations.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The organization provides educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in more than 18,000 classrooms throughout the nation.