More than a dozen vocational education students were to head for Louisville, Ky., Monday in search of gold.
The students are first-place winners in the Florida state Vocational Industrial Clubs of America competition held earlier this year, and they're facing off this week with top students from around the country in bids for national titles and gold medals.
Competitors include Clyde Versley, 75, a recent PTEC graduate who has established his own video production company. Versley and teammate Bruce Segovis, both representing PTEC-St. Petersburg, are competing in television media production.
Linda Favjan of PTEC-St. Petersburg has a degree in theater and drama and is employed by WCLF-Ch. 22, Christian Broadcasting Station. She will compete in the prepared speech category.
And Tracy Grover will compete in motorcycle mechanics, a program of study in its second year on the Largo campus.
Other state winners are Chad Desmarais, Dixie Hollins High School, precision machining; Bill Kane, PTEC-Largo, diesel engine repair; Robert Pritchard, PTEC-Largo, marine mechanics; Adam Christiano, PTEC-Largo, welding; Charles Fink, PTEC-Largo, commercial banking; Joseph Mendez, PTEC-St. Petersburg, commercial photography; Delbert Wells, PTEC-St. Petersburg, job skill demonstration B; and Carrie Lyons, Seminole Vocational Education Center, action skills (special needs only).
A team from PTEC-Largo, first-place winners in the knowledge bowl at the VICA state competition, also will compete. They are Dan Fitzgerald, John Peterson, Denise Smith and Bill Welch.
The Pinellas Adult and Vocational Education Association honored the state winners of the VICA competition and other adult and vocational education students last month.
The outstanding adult basic education students honored were Ellis Adams, Dixie Hollins Evening Adult Center; Cora Burney, Countryside Community School; James Gautney, Pinellas Technical Education Center-Largo; Jason Glatfelter, PTEC-Largo; Ron Hulsave, Tarpon Springs Community School; Erminia Lawrence, Tomlinson Adult Learning Center; Audrey Lewin, Northeast Community School; Tan Hoai Nguyen, Northeast Community School; Stase Tolpyginas, PTEC-St. Petersburg; and Annette Williams, Lakewood Community School.
The outstanding English for Speakers of Other Languages adult students were Mykhana Thi Dinh, Dixie Hollins Evening Adult Center; Linh Duong, Tomlinson Adult Learning Center; Willi Mumenthaler, Northeast Community School; Ha Nguyen, PTEC-Largo; Be Vo, Countryside Community School; and George York, Tarpon Springs Community School.
Terry Cater of PTEC-Largo was honored for receiving the highest score on the General Education Development test this year, and Erwin Every of Dixie Hollins Evening Adult Center was named the top adult education high school student.
Students who were honored for receiving first place in the Vocational Student Organizations state competition are Jon Miller, Seminole High;Tom Dawe, Seminole Vocational Education Center; and Sherrie Wolfe, Largo High.
PAVE also honored several of its members. They are Betty Gallina, PTEC-St. Petersburg, Outstanding Postsecondary Teacher; August Lindeman, Richard L. Sanders School, Outstanding Secondary Teacher; Joan Bruce, Tomlinson Adult Learning Center, Outstanding Part-time Teacher; Dina Wedler, PTEC-St. Petersburg, Outstanding Support Employee; and Tom Maasing Administrator. Sam Giardina, president of the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association, received the Calvin Hunsinger Award for Outstanding Lay Person for his work with the Seminole Vocational Education Center's criminal justice program.
Middle school students also were recognized at the PAVE ceremony for their work in business education, health, home economics, industrial arts and computers.
Those honored included Bay Point Middle pupils Carmen Hardy, Darrell Knight, T. J. Norman, Nicholas Racicot and Mequell Smith; Clearwater Discovery pupils Theresa Caccimese, Jeff Frazier and Mike Noe; Dunedin Middle pupils Molly Marchand, Matt Mercer and Christina Sylvia; Lealman Discovery pupils Denise Campbell, John Crain, Dan Hooks, Julius Long, Demetrius Mitchell, Shantae Oliver and John Shoemaker; Morgan Fitzgerald Middle pupils Trisha Beatty, Kathy Irgens, Mandy Johannes, Melanie Lasch, Tom Predmore, Bambi Ray and Elisa Tucker; Madeira Beach Middle pupils Dustin Basalla and Robert Hanisko; Meadowlawn Middle pupil Amy Collins; Oak Grove Middle pupils Joshua Acree, Charleen Purdy and Southisone Saysourinho; Osceola Middle pupils Jennelle Ellershaw, David Hall and Carlos Wilfong; Palm Harbor Middle pupils Candace Coryell, Amanda Eicher, Lisa Lacasse, Chris Maggi, Lauren Meade and Manish Patel; Pinellas Park Middle pupils Ann Brock, Kristi Helfrich, John Mullin, Ebony Russell and Courtney Taylor; Safety Harbor Middle pupils Ryan Bungert, Kasey Dowd and Sarah Sealey; Seminole Middle pupils Brian Lake and Brian Lau; Sixteenth Street Middle pupils Rebecca Farley, Taletha Gross, Sean Holder and Deonte Thompson; and Tyrone Middle pupil Jacky Keothavy.