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Two TCAT students win national medals
Tennessee College of Applied Technology students proudly pose after competing in the SkillsUSA National Championship earlier this month. Pictured, from left, are Christian Chaparro, Bryson Braswell, Zane Maxwell, Tanner Parsley and Joseph Nagy Jr. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Tennessee College of Applied Technology had two state SkillsUSA winners out of nearly 2,000 contestants. 

Bringing home a silver medal in information technology services was TCAT student Joseph Nagy Jr., while Tanner Parsley earned a bronze medal in the CNC technician division.

The SkillsUSA National Championship is an annual event showcasing the best career and technical education students in America. Students demonstrate a variety of skills depending on their area of study. 

All five local students who participated agreed the competition is more than about medals. More importantly, it’s about networking and learning real-life applications in their field.

“For me, it was a chance to not just compete, but get an advantage over the younger crowd going into this field,” explained Nagy. “I’m going to be 41 next month and I’m reinventing myself in order to be able to take care of my family so this was an opportunity to show potential employers I can do this and in a timely manner.”

Added Tanner, “It was harder than I thought. I had to do a lot of math I had never done before and how to figure it out quickly. I learned time management is important.”

Although TCAT’s three-member welding fabrication team didn’t bring home a medal, Christian Chaparro said they brought back experiences.

“Not only is it to show off our skills while representing our school and county, but it’s also to make new friendships along the way through SkillsUSA,” said Chaparro. “Even though we didn’t come back with a medal, I came back with a lot more experience and we grew together as a team.”

Added team member Bryson Braswell, “You get your name out there and it will be on your resume. Employers look for that. I also learned how to work a TIG without a foot pedal.”

The competition took place earlier this month in Chattanooga.