M State student ranks 7th in national SkillsUSA auto competition
Dylan Parsons’ diligence and determination paid off with a 7th place finish in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference on June 25-29 in Louisville, Ky. Parsons, 17, just completed his first year in the Automotive Technology program on the Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College. He won the right to represent Minnesota in the national SkillsUSA competition by placing first in the high school category at the state Skills contest in March. Parsons, who was a high school senior during his first year in college, enrolled at M State through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program and graduated from Frazee High School in May. He took only one basic auto maintenance course in high school prior to enrolling at M State, but he’s long been interested in working on vehicles. “A lot of my family is big into working on cars,” said Parsons, who never missed a day of classes despite having to drive 110 miles round trip from his home in Frazee to the Moorhead campus. “So when students said they couldn’t make it to class due to the weather, I’d point to Dylan,” said automotive instructor Shannon Mohn, laughing. Mohn accompanied Parsons to the SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, where an estimated 6,000 career and technical education students – all winners in their state competitions – competed in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Parsons was competing against nearly 50 other students in the high school automotive category. In addition to hands-on demonstrations of their automotive skills, competitors took a written test and went through mock job interviews and resume writing. After completing the second year of the Automotive Technology program next year, Parsons said he intends to work as an auto mechanic. “I took him with me on a visit to a dealership in town, and he was offered a job before we left,” said Mohn, adding that he and fellow Automotive Technology instructors Scott Ripplinger and Dennis Miller are “extremely proud” of Parsons’ accomplishments. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit that serves high school and college students who are preparing for careers in a trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Its state and national competitions are based on industry-driven occupational skills standards.