Building Skills Before College

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Lauren Hay

Before Lauren Hay ’21 came to Thomas to study Elementary Education, she was already passionate and award-winning in the subject. Her junior and senior year in high school, Lauren attended Somerset Career and Technical Center (SCTC) in Skowhegan, where she participated in the Early Childhood Education program. It was through this program that Lauren found out about SkillsUSA. Her first year in the program, Lauren was persuaded by her adviser to take part in SkillsUSA by competing in Promotional Bulletin Board. After having fun at the competition, she decided to take part in SkillsUSA her senior year by competing under the Early Childhood category.

To prepare for the state competition, Lauren created a lesson plan for every content area and practiced the competition objectives. Once at the competition, Lauren had to draw a content area, including science and math, music and movement, and reading and writing. She then had to use the materials provided to create a lesson plan and present it to the judges. Once all the competitors had finished, the scores were tallied. At the final ceremony, Lauren was called as the gold medalist for the high school level Early Childhood competition. Lauren was could not believe she had won and was excited to be moving on to the next level of the competition.

Being named the gold medalist in her category meant she would be attending the national SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky. To prepare for the national competition, Lauren began to study the objectives and practice creating lesson plans.

“I practiced, I think, all of them except for my music one and that was the one I ended up getting,” said Lauren.

In addition to creating the lesson plan, Lauren had to take a written test over the national standards, complete a book reading, and be interviewed by the judges. The competition took place over the course of a week, with the final ceremony on Friday. At the final ceremony, anticipation built until the Early Childhood competition was called and Lauren had placed third.

Lauren would describe SkillsUSA as “an organization that promotes skilled trades to try to close the skills gap in America and promoting that in high schools and to kids that want to further their education in the trades.” Through her experience with SkillsUSA and the Early Childhood competition, Lauren was able to receive feedback to help improve her skills such as learning how to adapt a lesson plan depending on the circumstances.

“In teaching you’re going to have to change things and be flexible,” she said.

Lauren recommends participating in SkillsUSA and not to shy away from it if you are interested.

While at SCTC, Lauren was able to earn teaching credits that transferred when she came to Thomas. The ability to transfer the credits she had earned was one of the main reasons she decided to come to Thomas. She also liked the small community atmosphere and the professors at Thomas over the other schools she looked at.

Lauren is also part of the Thomas Women’s Basketball team and the JMG club as well as a coach for the junior high soccer team in Athens, Maine.

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