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Mon, 2/26/2018, 12:00AM - 11:59PM
Mon, 3/5/2018, 12:00AM - 11:59PM
Tue, 3/13/2018, 9:00AM
Fri, 3/16/2018, 1:00AM - 12:59AM
Thu, 3/22/2018, 1:00AM - 12:59AM
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Electrical student advances to national SkillsUSA competition
Winning a statewide SkillsUSA competition is quite impressive. Winning the competition as a junior in high school is even more impressive and quite rare. This is exactly what Brandon Meek, an electrical student at Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career & Technical Center, did this year. 

Brandon Meek with his medal
Brandon, a junior at Akron High School, recently competed in and won the New York State SkillsUSA Electrical Construction and Wiring competition. Winning the state competition means that he advances on to the National Leadership and Skills Competition this June in Louisville, Ky.  Brandon competed against students from all over the state from both high school career centers as well as post-secondary technical schools in order to win the state competition. 

“He really is one in a million,” said Garth Merlino, Brandon’s electrical systems instructor at Erie 1 BOCES. “Some of these four-year tech schools train their kids solely for this competition. For Brandon, to beat all of them after just one year of instruction is amazing.” 

The award was presented to Brandon at the New York State Fairgrounds convention building, in front of an audience of nearly 3,000 people, an experience that Brandon describes as amazing. 

Brandon has always been interested in electrical work, even initiating self-study before arriving at Harkness. Although his favorite activity is installing fire panels, Brandon says he loves the work and will gladly do anything he is able. 

Within his electrical class, he learned and practiced bending conduit, terminating wires and all of the lab activities essential for the SkillsUSA competitions.

Brandon is the first of Merlino’s students to advance to the national competition. Students can only go to nationals if they have won their state competition. 

“I am looking forward to meeting new people who have the same interests, talking to judges to learn from them and improve my skills,” said Brandon about the national competition. 

An overall well-rounded student, Brandon is also a soccer and tennis player for Akron High School, outdoorsman and is always interested in working with tools. 

With being only a junior, what comes next for Brandon? 

“I want to compete in SkillsUSA for Industrial Motor Control, next year,” says Brandon.

After that, Brandon hopes to attend Alfred State for electrical construction and start a career as an electrician.  

Harkness had four additional state medalists at SkillsUSA. Katelyn Leszynski and Meghan Wehner, both of Lancaster High School, each placed second in health care and fashion design, respectively. Jimmy Miller of Alden High School placed third in the auto tech competition. Finally, Olivia Hockwater of Akron High School placed third in the health terminology competition. Harkness’ sister school, Kenton Career & Technical Center, boasted two additional medalists. Brittney Schechterly, enrolled in the animal science program at Kenton Career & Technical Center, placed second in the Animal Careers competition. Emily Pfalzer, also in Kenton’s animal science program, placed third in the Job Demonstration competition. Both Brittany and Emily attend Kenmore-West High School. 

About Erie 1 BOCES:
As part of public education, Erie 1 BOCES offers a variety of career and technical programs during the regular school day to high school students in Erie County. High school students interested in learning more about how they can participate in various programs such as electrical systems, health careers or aviation technology, should visit or speak with their high school counselor.

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