two men in blue shirts on medal podium

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Three Texas State Technical College students from West Texas made history at the 2024 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

David Aman and Hunter Spohn teamed up to win the Emergency Medical Technician competition, while Toby Styron won the Facilithon event. The three students are the first to win national gold medals in their respective events for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, according to Renee Blackshear, a SkillsUSA advisor for the West Texas campuses.

“What an honor to have our students bring back gold medals to our West Texas campuses,” Blackshear said. “These champions competed against the best in the nation, and we are grateful to have them as part of the TSTC West Texas team.”

The road to the national competition was not easy for the medalists. Spohn won the state event with his classmate, Joshua Rains. With Rains unable to attend nationals due to work commitments, Aman stepped in to replace him.

“Josh was excited for us,” Spohn said. “It gave us a sense of pride for TSTC.”

Aman said he was shocked that they won the event, which pitted 19 teams against one another.

“We thought we could get the bronze medal or maybe the silver,” he said. “When the final two teams were us and another team, I was ready to step up on the silver podium. It was an amazing feeling to win.”

Aman and Spohn practiced prior to the conference and set aside time in Atlanta to sharpen their teamwork.

“We worked well together,” Spohn said. “By the time we competed, we knew what each other was doing.”

The EMT event simulated situations encountered by emergency medical professionals that included either a medical or a trauma scenario. Each one required the use of critical thinking skills, communication, and demonstration of professionalism.

Styron did not compete at the state event because he was the only competitor officially entered in Facilithon. His event assessed problem-solving skills, ability to quickly execute the best response to challenges, and ability to accurately digest complex situations.

“It was exhilarating,” Styron said of winning the gold medal. “Facilithon was a very challenging but satisfying obstacle to overcome.”

Styron said he hopes his performance inspires future students.

“It is an honor to be the first student to win the gold medal,” he said. “I hope this sets the standard for future SkillsUSA participants.”

SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that can help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.

skills toby 300x300 - TSTC students bring national SkillsUSA gold medals home to West Texas
Toby Styron, a TSTC Electromechanical Technology student, stands on the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference podium after receiving the gold medal in Facilithon.
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