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Cross students represented BCSD in Skills USA state competition with 'life-changing' performance

Published Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cross HS Skills USA team

The Cross High School Skills USA team poses for a fun group photo while at the state competition at the TD Convention Center in Greenville in March. (BCSD photo)

As a Class A middle/high school with fewer than 300 students, Cross High School is one of the smallest schools in South Carolina. It’s also among the smallest schools in Berkeley County and likely will be the smallest high school in years to come as other areas see population, economic and industrial growth.

However, saying there’s no growth in Cross is deeply inaccurate. 

There’s a growth mindset at Cross High School. Students are learning and competing on a level with those in larger schools. Through hard work, many of the teens at the rural Berkeley County School believe they can accomplish anything. There’s no better evidence of that growth mindset than the Skills USA team’s performance at the state competition in March. Cross Skills USA chapter advisor Mr. David Sweat described the experience for his students as “tremendous” and “life-changing.” 

For the first time in the history of Berkeley County School District, two students were selected to be state Skills USA officers. Both of those students are from Cross. Students from Cross were also featured on the local news in Greenville where the competition was held. 

In addition, Cross also claimed the opening and closing ceremony state title, among several other awards. 

“Skills USA-SC has turned out to be quite a big deal for the kids, as we have grown over the past three years. The students are now seeing great big possibilities for a bright future,” Mr. Sweat said. “Not only are they getting great leadership skills, they are also learning other employment skills that they can now use to capture a job with good pay and even college opportunities that will allow them to attend college and move even further up the employment chain or ownership.” 

Mr. Sweat said the performance of his students and the preparation that made their winnings possible is his top-ranked teacher moment and is among the top five best moments of his life. He said seeing his students glow with pride as they competed against larger schools and technology schools was priceless. 

Now, they want more. 

“My students are successful due to their ability to listen and apply, Cross is a small community, and not many things are out here in this small town, and the community often gets forgotten for growth, so by challenging my students to think outside the box, look at other things besides negative, concentrate and work diligently and just a little harder, they will see great things, better things come to them,” Mr. Sweat said. 

“They have seen the possibilities and now they are hungry for more. They want to help make this school, this county and this district known as a powerful district that has talent to succeed in every level of academics and sports, a district that is known as a House of Champions.” 

Here’s the breakdown of Cross High School’s winnings at the state Skills USA competition - 

Selected for state office
Erica Placker and Ashantia Thompson

Action Skills – bonze medal
Johnathon Packard

American Spirit – gold medal (qualified for nationals)
Destiny Bermudez
Jessie West
Heather Hazel

Community Action Project – gold medal (qualified for nationals)
Jesse Chinners
Marquis Geddis

Opening and Closing Ceremonies – gold medal
Brittany Baker
Kaulandra Walker
Alexandria Merrithew
Ashantia Thompson
Erica Placker
Brooke Nowrocki
Brandon Crawford

Quiz Bowl – silver medal
Reese Gatlin
Javier Arciniega-Morales
Tia Evans
Tajhe Prioleau
Juan Mendez

Middle School Team Engineering Challenge – gold medal (qualified for nationals)
Essence Ronjon
Juan Mendez
Cameron Williams

Middle School Team Engineering Challenge – silver medal
Tia Evans
Taia Gattis
Luke Maya

Television Video Production – silver medal
Tajhe Prioleau
Derrick Mack

Advisor of the Year – runner-up
Mr. David Sweat

** Berkeley High School also had students participate in the Skills USA state competition. Tyler Olson, Chris Wilder and Cody Cloninger won the bronze medal for Chapter Display.


Brian Troutman