Four Kilgore High School students will be competing at the national level this summer thanks to their gold-medal ranking in a health science competition in Corpus Christi April 4-7.
KHS juniors Mackenna Watkins, Anushka Pradhan, Alison Rashidi and Sydney Chowdhury earned the rank of state champions in the SkillsUSA Health Knowledge Quiz Bowl by scoring higher than 17 other teams from across Texas.
“When they popped up that gold, the sheer excitement, tears of joy. To be a team of four juniors and get to go compete again, those students have worked extremely hard and are extremely devoted to their studies,” said Health Science Teacher Cheyenne Kirkpatrick.
“It was pretty incredible but, at the same time, it was like ‘oh, now we have to step it up even more to compete against everyone in the nation,’” said Mackenna Watkins.
“It helps that we have a month for summer so we can study then,” she added, noting the team would have to study even harder for the national competition.
“I’ve never had had this opportunity before, to go to a national competition, so it’s an amazing opportunity, especially because it’s in my career field,” said Anushka Pradhan.
“I’m really excited.”
“This is my first year doing it and I think it’s really cool that I get to go to nationals for the experience and to grow,” said Alison Rashidi. “I definitely want to do this next year.”
In addition to bringing home a gold medal, other KHS students won medals as well.
Senior Carlos Muniz won a silver medal in the Medical Terminology Competition and Mackenna Watkins earned a bronze in the same category. Senior Jayme Butts earned a bronze medal in Basic Healthcare Skills.
“Last year was our first time to go to state and we came home with no medals. To come home with a team gold and an individual silver and two bronze was awesome,” Kirkpatrick said.
SkillsUSA is a national organization which helps students prepare to enter the workforce in a variety of fields.
The national competition will be held in Louisville, Kentucky June 24-28 and the KHS students will face tough opponents – 49 teams, one from each state.