Carissa Lindsay the star of LHS SkillsUSA

Erin Mullins

February 5-9 was SkillsUSA Week nationally. Lovell High School celebrated with events throughout the week.
SkillsUSA is a career and technical education organization helping members from middle school through college pursue skilled trades.
The week was full of activities, a guest speaker and a quiz bowl, said business teacher and SkillsUSA advisor Jode Kraft. The week precedes the competition for SkillsUSA at the high school, which culminates in the state tournament in late April at Casper College.
But one student in particular highlights the blue collar nature of SkillsUSA. Kraft said current senior Carissa Lindsay, who joined SkillsUSA as a sophomore, is a returning state champion.
At last April’s state SkillsUSA, then junior Lindsay reigned victorious as state champion for the nursing assisting category and qualified to represent Wyoming in national competition, Kraft said.
Lindsay represented Wyoming in Atlanta on June 18-24, 2023, Kraft said.
Lindsay said only the top three state competitors in nurse-assisting were ranked, and everyone else was unranked. She hopes that she theoretically placed in the top half, but cannot tell because of what a crazy event the competition was.
Nationals was a far larger playing field than State and was a cool experience, Lindsay said.
“It’s just such a big playing field. Because you think, oh my gosh, Wyoming is big. Well, nobody really thinks that. You go to the state competition and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s all these people,’ but then you go to nationals and you have people from those specific technical schools for nurse assisting.”
Lindsay said Nationals competition is a two-part process, whereas state competition simply assesses your nurse assisting skills. At Nationals, one part is demonstrating nurse assisting tasks, and the other is an interview portion.
On the skills front, Lindsay said she completes nurse assisting tasks like draining a catheter with dyed water and recording the output or dressing and undressing a mannequin that represents a resident.
She said she also demonstrated that she could help a resident with activities of daily living like brushing teeth or guiding them through different stretches.
The skills assessment at the national level was more technical than the state level, Lindsay said, with one task being taking a sample and finding out how to correctly process it in the lab.
The interview portion resembled a mock job interview and hiring process for getting a nurse assisting job, Lindsay said.
Lindsay said everyone should join SkillsUSA. She is still competing this year in the group, but competition won’t be in earnest again until the state competition late this April. Technical licensure opens up many career doors outside of a bachelors, she said.
“Seriously, like, it shows you the possibilities for the future outside of college, that like in order to be successful in life. You don’t just need a college degree. You can get so many different kinds of training, like CDL or welding,” Lindsay said.