Philip Taylor (second from left) and Axel Torres (second from right) earned gold medals at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference earlier this month. The TSTC students qualified for the national conference scheduled for June 19-23 in Atlanta, Georgia. Also pictured are the students’ instructors, Russell Benson (left) and Arnoldo Soto (right).

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Six students from Texas State Technical College’s West Texas campuses qualified for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference with gold medal victories at the state conference earlier this month.

Zachary Atwell, Dustin Bostick, Mackenzie Brigman, Thomas Kalman, Philip Taylor and Axel Torres will compete at the national event scheduled for June 19-23 in Atlanta, Georgia. They were among 15 TSTC students from the West Texas campuses who earned medals at the state conference in Houston.

Atwell and Kalman, students in the Web Design and Development program, earned the gold medal as a team in Web Design and Development. Bostick and Brigman, students in the Emergency Medical Services – Advanced EMT program in Brownwood, won the EMT Demonstration team competition.

Taylor, a student in Electromechanical Technology, won the Electronics Technology event.

“I was proud to represent TSTC during SkillsUSA,” he said. “I was glad my instructor (Arnoldo Soto) was there with me. It would have been stressful without him there helping me through the day. I am looking forward to attending the national event in June.”

Torres, a student in Wind Energy Technology, won the gold medal in Related Technical Math to qualify for the national conference. He also earned a bronze medal in Electronics Technology.

“Competing in SkillsUSA was out of my comfort zone. I am glad I was able to work through the issues and represent TSTC,” he said. “Having Philip and my instructors with me was the best way to handle my anxiety. It was fun to be with them outside of the classroom setting.”

Other students who earned medals at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference were:

  • Computer Programming: K.C. Poland, silver.
  • Medical Terminology: Lacey Hampton, bronze.
  • Nurse Assisting: Jamila Skrhak, silver.
  • Web Design and Development: Team B: Michael Clesh and Dave McMillan, silver.
  • Welding Fabrication: Team G: Rory Bustamante, Weston Conine and Daniel Coers, silver.
  • Welding Sculpture: Sabrina Stewart, bronze.

The SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference is a competitive event where postsecondary students demonstrate their educational skills at the highest level. The national stage elevates that performance, and those who flourish receive top honors.

For more information on SkillsUSA, go to

For more information about TSTC, visit

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