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Diman trio grabs gold in state SkillsUSA competition; preps for national stage

Diman trio grabs gold in state SkillsUSA competition; preps for national stage

By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted May 23, 2012 @ 12:14 AM

Students Diman seniors, from left, Erica Cournoyer, Samantha Costa and Kelsey Almeida pose next to the marketing materials created for the McDonald Law Office.

Students and Teacher Doing a measuerment on a piece of metal that was cut in a CNC machine in tke Diman Voke machine shop. From left, Cory Manchester, teacher Mike Oliveiria and Nick Parente.
FALL RIVER - With the poise of a seasoned speaker, Kelsey Almeida stepped up to the podium and began presenting her group’s work to redesign marketing materials for a city law office.

Almeida, along with fellow Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School seniors Samantha Costa and Erica Cournoyer, are among the36 students who captured gold medals in the Massachusetts SkillsUSA competition. The recognition earned each of the students an invitation to compete in the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City this June 23.

The competition will cap off a busy final month that includes prom and graduation before the trio heads to Salem State College in the fall.

Almeida, Costa and Cournoyer will be competing in the career pathways category of the national competition. Among their work was a complete redesign of marketing materials for the McDonald Law office in Fall River that included a new website, logo, pamphlets, business cards, letter head and even pen and mechanical pencil sets. Hoping to show the law firm’s community connections, the trio also highlighted McDonald’s sponsorship of youth and adult athletic teams.

“This is a tremendous help,” Nicole McDonald said after the trio gave a practice presentation. “We’ve never had a logo, so this is new for us and it’s nice to have something that is so professional looking. The promotional material is also something that we don’t do, and I’m excited about the website because that’s also something we didn’t have.”

Thinking about everything from the effect the colors used in the marketing materials will have on grabbing a potential client’s attention to building the logo, the group spent hours developing its concept.

They’re hoping the attention to detail will pay off at the national competition. “I think we’re going to do really well,” Almeida said. “Last year we got to see some of the other presentations, so we’re ready and confident with our display.”

Success at the SkillsUSA competition is nothing new for Diman.

Competing in the program since 1984, the competition has put Diman and its students on the map, Mike Oliveira, Diman’s SkillsUSA chapter adviser and the machine tool technology program department head, said.

“This opens up a lot of jobs for kids,” Oliveira said. “I think it’s been very beneficial for the school and great recognition for the students.”

Oliveira said Diman typically finishes among the top 10 schools to compete as they rack up the gold, silver and bronze medals that go to the top performers in a variety of vocational-related contests.

“We’ve had an exceptional run,” Oliveira said. “We are the school to beat in a lot of contests. We’ve had a lot of success stories and I think SkillsUSA builds confidence in the students.”

Oliveira said the success also breeds competition within the school as interest in competing has ramped up over the years. Oliveira said that in some categories the school must first hold internal competitions to determine who goes on to the statewide competition. He noted the group heading to this year’s nationals is the largest the school has ever sent.

“As we win and have more success, more kids want to get involved,” Oliveira said.

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