Fleetwood 2013 graduate Tyler Raifsnider and Brandywine Heights junior Aaron Kilgus won silver at the SkillsUSA National Competition recently.
Winning silver at nationals was a bitter sweet experience.
“We were so close to getting first,” said Tyler. “It was a lot of fun though.”
This was Tyler’s second year going to SkillsUSA nationals while this was Aaron’s first experience.
The Berks Career and Technology Center Communication Media Technology students earned their medals out of 34 competitors in the team TV Production category.
“This is quite an accomplishment, to be ranked second in the nation,” said Aaron’s mother, Kim. “Berks Career and Technology Center had six students that went to nationals, Aaron was the only one from Brandywine to attend, but they returned home with five medals. My husband, John, and I are very proud of our son as well as all of the students who attended.”
They won 1st in the State Competition gaining the opportunity to compete at the 49th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Mo., from June 24 to 29.
Tyler, 18, and Aaron, 17, did not know what they would be filming for their video project until they arrived at the competition. Their assignment was to create a public service announcement video promoting the benefits of career and technology schools. They believe what set their video apart from the others was their audio quality, having recorded the scripted audio in the quiet of their van. They also credited their planning ahead what video shots paired with the audio, rather than just shooting and hoping it fit the audio. Everything had to be done during a set period of time.
During the filming process, they literally bumped into Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. Rowe was the keynote speaker at the competition.
“It was pretty cool listening to him,” said Tyler.
Rowe has been asked to speak at SkillsUSA every year for the past eight years but could not attend because he was doing a dirty job.
“He talked about all the dirty jobs he was on over the past eight years as to why he couldn’t come,” said Tyler.
Besides meeting Rowe, other highlights for the duo was meeting other students from across the country.
The National Conference brought together more than 6,000 students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.
Tyler and Aaron both plan to continue their education.
Headed to Penn State Berks in the fall, Tyler wants to work in film production in California. His dream job is be a film director.
A Brandywine senior in the fall, Aaron wants to direct and produce films. His dream job is to produce and direct a big Hollywood movie.