Hunterdon County Polytech to Send Seven Students to SkillsUSA National Competition


Hunterdon County Polytech Career and Technical School saw a school-record 17 students take home first-place gold medals at the New Jersey SkillsUSA Championship held at the Garden State Exhibit Center. Seven of those students qualified for the national competition in Louisville, Ky., June 19-23.

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Qualifiers are currently preparing for competition on a national stage and fundraising to supplement the cost of travel and lodging in Louisville. The seven qualifiers for nationals include Grace Brobst in Advertising Design (Post-Secondary); Sara Cantanzaro in Cosmetology (Post-Secondary); Paul Commarato in Automotive Refinishing Technology; Justin Dennis and Guide Hubbard who partnered for the 3D Visualization and Animation competition; Jeffrey Gruchacz in Automotive Service Technology; and Kendra Szikura in Esthetics (Post-Secondary).


The SkillsUSA Championships are competitions that showcase the skills of career and technical education students. The philosophy behind the competition is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs. The competitions start locally and then move to the state and national levels.


At the most recent New Jersey SkillsUSA event, 90 Hunterdon County Polytech students participated in 25 competitions. Thirty-seven of these students placed in 18 different categories.

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“We are extremely proud of all of our students who participated in the SkillsUSA Championships and helped contribute to our school’s historic medal count,” said Superintendent Kimberly Metz, Ed.D. “We look forward to the continued success of those students moving on to nationals. They have put in countless hours of training and fundraising to represent Polytech at the highest level of competition.”


Hunterdon County Polytech Career and Technical School is part of the Hunterdon County Vocational School District. As a public school district, HCVSD serves students from middle school to adults in a variety of career programs that result in gainful employment by partnering with businesses in the community to meet their economic and workforce needs. To learn more, visit

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Delaney Fleming, pictured left, took home 3rd place in the esthetics category, and Kendra Szikura, pictured right, took home 1st place in the esthetics (post-secondary) category and gained entry to the national competition.


A full list of SkillsUSA winners from Hunterdon County Polytech follows:


3D Visualization & Animation

·      Justin Dennis, Guide Hubbard- 1st place (Nationals)

·      Chase Gurak, Ari Arnone- 2nd place (Chase and Ari competed together last year and placed 3rd)


Advertising Design (Post-secondary)

·      Grace Brobst- 1st place (Nationals)

·      Destiny Thorne-Kovacs- 2nd place

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Automotive Refinishing Technology

·      Paul Commarato- 1st place (Nationals)

·      Alexander Kohn- 3rd place


Automotive Service Technology

·      Jeffrey Gruchacz- 1st place (Nationals)

·      Todd Gruchacz- 3rd place


Collision Repair Technology

·      Haley Knudsen- 3rd place


Commercial Baker’s Aide

·      Alexis Dewar- 2nd place


Cosmetology (Post-secondary)

·      Sara Catanzaro- 1st place (Nationals)

·      Katelyn Rudko- 2nd place


Cosmetology Knowledge Bowl

·      Cassandra Haney, Tiffany Mazieka, Sayji Foca, Emily Taborelli- 3rd place


Cosmetology Knowledge Bowl (Post-secondary)

·      Kendra Szikura, Emily Proctor-Marulli, Brooke Holmes, Sara Catanzaro- 1st place


Custom Automotive Painting

·      Mackenzie Dastis, Thomas Brown- 1st place


Design & Build Plywood Challenge

·      Daniel Mannix Colton Curtis- 1st place  (Colton placed 2nd last year)



·      Delaney Fleming- 3rd place (Delaney placed 2nd last year)

Esthetics (Post-secondary)

·      Kendra Szikura- 1st place (Nationals)


Nail Care

·      Lexi Smith- 3rd place


Nail Care (Post-secondary)

·      Brooke Holmes- 2nd place


State Banner

·      Clare Dougherty, Dylan Doremus- 1st place

·      Evvyanna Catanzareti, Joshua Fennelly- 3rd place


Restaurant Service

·      Daniel Rosengarden- 3rd place


Wedding Cake Decorating

·      Christa Stehr, Katie White- 2nd place

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