Three Keefe Regional Technical School students won gold medals in their career technical fields at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference, and will now represent their school and state at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, MO at the end of June.
SkillsUSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing high school and college students for careers in technical, trade, and skilled service occupations through local, state, and national programs and competitions.
The gold medal winners are Daniel De Oliveira of Framingham, a senior in the metal fabrication program, Mackenzie Fairbanks of Hopkinton, a junior in the electrical program, and Andrew Franquiz of Framingham, a junior in the health careers program.
The SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference was held in April at the Best Western Royal Plaza and Trade Center in Marlborough. The conference featured the Massachusetts SkillsUSA Championships and is the largest educational gathering in the state with more than 2,500 attendees.
De Oliveira won the gold medal in Welding Sculpture for an eagle sculpture made completely of metal that took 100 hours to craft by hand.
“I chose an eagle because it’s a rare animal and hard to find. I spent a lot of time working after school to make the sculpture and to finish it. During the competition, I made a presentation to the judges and displayed the finished product,” he said.
The gold medal in Electrical Construction Wiring went to Fairbanks, who completed hands-on work in low voltage wiring, EMT pipe bending, and Romex wiring during the competition.
“By winning gold, I was able to see my hard work pay off. I studied this kind of wiring during my sophomore year, and I’ve been working at D.C. Electric in Hopkinton for six months, where I’ve been able to do some more wiring,” he noted.
As the winner of the gold medal in First Aid, Franquiz said he couldn’t have done it without the support of Lead Health Careers instructor, Susan Lynch.
“I spent a lot of time practicing with Ms. Lynch, after school and on weekends. She really helped to prepare me and it was great to win.”
“This marks the first time that Keefe Tech has ever had three gold medalists from the state competition moving on to the national level,” said John Brochu, Keefe Tech Vocational Coordinator. “These three gentlemen have done a tremendous job for themselves and for the school and we are proud to have them representing Keefe and Massachusetts,” he added.
De Oliveira, Fairbanks, and Franquiz will now compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City June 23-28, where they will face off against gold medal winners from across the United States.
The students will be accompanied by metal fabrication instructor Patrick Fogarty, lead electrical instructor Edward Clark, and lead health careers instructor Susan Lynch. Additionally, John Brochu will be present at the national competition as a
member of the Massachusetts SkillsUSA Board of Directors.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to go to the national competition and see the different approaches other Electrical students may use,” said Fairbanks.
Franquiz agreed, “I think it’s going to be a great experience to see what other students are doing, learn from them, and share our different skills. It’s not just about competing, it’s about learning from others.”
Keefe Regional Technical School offers a complete college preparatory and honors academic program to students from the communities of Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton and Natick.