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It’s Their Time: New National Officer Team Ready to Seize the Moment

SkillsUSA’s newly elected national officers take full advantage of life’s opportunities whenever and wherever they present themselves, and they’re ready to inspire SkillsUSA members to do the same.
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2022-23 National Officer Team announcement
Photo by Lloyd Wolf.

During the Awards Ceremony at SkillsUSA’s 2022 National Leadership & Skills Conference (NLSC) in Atlanta this past June, seven committed and passionate student members were elected as SkillsUSA national officers for the 2022-23 school year. From the moment they stepped off the State Farm Arena stage, each new officer was excited to get to work furthering SkillsUSA’s mission on behalf of every SkillsUSA member and stakeholder.

Fresh off the heels of the 2022 Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) in Washington, D.C., this “Magnificent Seven” has proven they have the skills it takes to empower SkillsUSA members across the nation to seize the day. During the annual advocacy conference, the officers took the lead in organizing events, delivering speeches, greeting government officials and more, a great start to what will be a productive, inspiring year. As college/postsecondary vice president Katahdin Javner exclaimed while speaking at WLTI’s CTE Rally in front of the U.S. Capitol, “There is a skills gap in our nation that needs to be filled, and our time … is now!”

Abby with gavel

COLLEGE/POSTSECONDARY DIVISION OFFICERS

President — Abby Vandiver

Trade Area: Culinary Arts

School: Autry Technology Center, Enid, Okla.

Advisor: Cheryl Cooksey

“I can’t wait to promote SkillsUSA so that more people realize what a fantastic organization it is and how much it will help them gain experience that will prepare them for their future careers.” — Abby Vandiver


Vice President — Katahdin Javner

Trade Area: Business Management

School: Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor

Advisor: Cathy Crise

“Climbing a mountain is not an easy task, but there is no greater reward than taking someone to the summit that they never thought they could reach! This is how I would describe what I want to do as a national officer. I want to guide our members to reach the summit of their potential!” — Katahdin Javner


HIGH-SCHOOL DIVISION OFFICERS

President — Grace Smith

Trade Area: Early Childhood Education

School: Elma High School, Elma, Wash.

Advisor: Tyler Ren

“I would not be here in the position I am, with the skills I have today, without SkillsUSA, and I want to use my influence and connections as a national officer to further the power of education for others.” — Grace Smith


Vice President — Joseph Price

Trade Area: Architectural Drawing and Design

School: Union Grove High School, McDonough, Ga.

Advisor: Amanda McClure

“For me, SkillsUSA is a place of joy, growth, and inclusion. Being here made me feel included and that my experiences truly do matter. That feeling is the primary purpose for me wanting to serve as a national officer.” — Joseph Price


Secretary — Lili Valencia

Trade Area: Graphic Design

School: Higley High School, Gilbert, Ariz.

Advisor: John Lebsock

“As a national officer, I have the platform to be another voice that supports and encourages others — on an even larger scale — to become the best versions of themselves.” — Lili Valencia


Parliamentarian — Hunter Claflin

Trade Area: Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR)

School: Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical School, Upton, Mass.

Advisor: Robert Jordan

“My goal as a national officer will be to instill and promote the SkillsUSA mission, motto, and these leadership skills that I learn into as many SkillsUSA members across the country as I am able to reach.”  — Hunter Claflin


Region 4 Vice President — Laney Blacketer

Trade Area: Automotive Technology

School: Lex-a-Ray Technical Center, Lexington, Mo.

Advisor: Rodney Wolken

“The sole purpose of being a SkillsUSA national officer is to represent SkillsUSA members at the local, state, and national levels. Leadership is not a position, but a way one can positively influence those around oneself.” — Laney Blacketer

Photos by Craig Moore.

Legacy of Leadership

Blacketer poses with her mother’s National Officer team photo. Photo provided by Laney Blacketer.

Laney’s mom, Cynthia Weeks, was also a SkillsUSA national officer. Weeks served during the 1995-96 school year. “I’ve always heard the stories and experiences from my mom about being a national officer,” Blacketer says. “Now I’m in the same position, but I’m seeing it from my point of view; the past and the present are coming together in front of my eyes.”

“Seeing Laney become a national officer is like taking a glance in a mirror to the past,” adds Weeks. “I get to relive my memories, such as WLTI and my first conference, all over again.”

Look for much more from SkillsUSA’s new national officer team all year as they build their own special memories during their year of service.

For more on the SkillsUSA 2022-23 National Officer Team, visit: www.skillsusa.org/about/national-officers/nationalofficer-bios/

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