The Cybersecurity team of Bryant Velasco of Streamwood and Debora Culajay of Elgin placed eighth in the nation.
The Cybersecurity team of Bryant Velasco of Streamwood and Debora Culajay of Elgin placed eighth in the nation.

ECC Students Top 10 in SkillsUSA National Championship

Kane County Connects Staff 7/2/2022 8:00AM

Elgin Community College (ECC) career and technical students - including several from Kane County- finished in the top 10 in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. 

A total of nine students recently traveled to Atlanta, GA and competed in six categories: Culinary Arts, Customer Service, Cybersecurity, Welding, Welding Fabrication, and Welding Sculpture. 

Meralia Gómez of Carpentersville (pictured center below) took fifth place nationally and earned a Skills Points certificate for her customer service skills. The cybersecurity team of Debora Culajay of Elgin and Bryant Velasco of Streamwood placed eighth in the nation.

“I'm proud of our accomplishments as a team," said Culajay. “The competition allowed us to prove ourselves and reveal what we are capable of. We didn't just gain knowledge and skills but also a family."

Representing ECC at the national level were:

Culinary Arts: Brendan Schoneberg (Huntley)

Customer Service: Meralia Gómez (Carpentersville)

Cybersecurity Team: Debora Culajay (Elgin) and Bryant Velasco (Streamwood), who replaced Yeung Ming Li for the national competition.

Welding: William J. Lietzow III (Winfield)

Welding Fabrication Team: Nicholas Grobe (Sugar Grove), Noah Hercl (South Elgin), and Travis Jones (Algonquin)

Welding Sculpture: Christian Cruz (Cortland) who replaced Saffron Bruno (St. Charles) for the national competition.

The students competing were accompanied by Welding Team Advisor Tom Limberis, welding instructor, Yolonda Barnes, associate dean of sustainability, business, and career technologies, and Susan Timm, EdD, professor of business and Business Team Advisor.  

"We knew the competition was stiff as everyone competing was at the top in their state," said Timm. “We networked, learned new skills, honed older skills, and pushed ourselves beyond what we thought was imaginable. We come back to Illinois with our heads held high, knowing we represented well our state and Elgin Community College."

The ECC delegates won gold in their categories in the Illinois State Championship contest held in April. 

Photos and additional details about their experience are posted on the Spartan Project: Student Entrepreneurship Club Facebook page.

SkillsUSA is an organization for technical, skilled, health, and personal service occupations students in high school and college. More than 302,000 members belong to over 14,000 chapters in 55 U.S. states and territorial associations.

Elgin Community College (ECC) is a comprehensive public community college, one of 48 statewide. ECC serves approximately 11,000 students each year. Programs of study include 25 major fields for university transfer, more than 130 career-oriented, occupational degrees and certificates, corporate and continuing education, and a full complement of pre-collegiate courses. The three-year graduation rate exceeds the national average and the average of peer colleges.

SOURCE:  Elgin Community College media release. 

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