PARIS — After raking in gold medals at this year’s Maine SkillsUSA conference, five Oxford Hills Technical School students are raising money to attend the national SkillsUSA conference in Atlanta on June 24-28.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit workforce development organization for students.

Virginia Valdes, instructor for the graphic design program, said the school maintains a competitive travel account, but with five students set to compete nationally this year, the expected costs have multiplied.

This QR Code is to donate to Oxford Hills Technical School students in Paris to attend the National SkillsUSA conference in June in Atlanta.

Students are raising money in multiple ways, with Valdes establishing a QR Code link for direct donations.

A recent benefit at 290 Maine St. restaurant in Norway raised a total of $670.

“We’re also organizing a bottle drive, silent auction, sponsorships and a sponsored (support the trades) T-shirt sale,” Valdes said.


Gold medal winner Amber Walker-Goodrich is in the final phases of designing the T-shirt. She is also producing an illustrated poster for sale that families of veterans can purchase to personalize remembrances of their loved ones.

Max Goodwin and Broderick Therriault won the top team prize in 3D visualization. The two study game design and animation through the school’s advanced communications program.

“This team … has a great set-up,” instructor Rob Benica said. “Max is a really great animator, while Brody is a fantastic designer and builder. Together they create animations that are technically sound but tell fun and creative stories.”

Walker-Goodrich was awarded gold in the advertising design category for her mural. Her design was on T-shirts worn by all students taking part in the school’s tech challenge in January.

Two students from the auto collision repair program took top honors in their categories: Connor Taylor was recognized for his entry in collision damage appraisal and Mariah Moore took gold with her job skill demonstration.

Oxford Hills Technical School student Brody Therriault, left, instructor Rob Benica and student Max Goodwin pose last month at the SkillsUSA Maine conference. Therriault and Goodwin teamed up for the gold medal in 3D visualization and will represent the Paris school at the national conference in Atlanta on June 24-28. Submitted photo

The students shared details about their SkillsUSA entries, as well as how career and technical education is guiding them for the future.


Max Goodwin

What did you do, why did you win? We created a malfunctioning wrecking ball that destroyed some scaffolding. We won because of our sound design and a fully finished animation.

Why do you want to compete at nationals? I would like to see new things and see what other contestants have to offer. I also would like to continue Maine’s streak of winning our competition for the fourth year in a row.

What inspires you? My mother died when I was young but despite that I kept a smile on my face and continued to move on, making people laugh and have fun because I know that’s what she would have wanted.

Brody Therriault

How does being a part of SkillsUSA help you, your future, your education? It helps me have a better sense and understanding about the career I want to go in and a better understanding of what I need to know for my career.


What are you hoping to gain from going to nationals? The opportunity to make a name for myself and prove my capabilities.

What are your plans after graduation? I want to go into an animation college and maybe work for a company like Disney and work as an animation modeler.

Amber Walker-Goodrich

What did you do, why did you win? I made a logo and mural in advertising design, inspirational mural using typography and illustration that could be placed in a public area. The logo was required to use the words ‘Maine Street Mural.’

How has being part of SkillsUSA impacted your education? It will help me get into a better college. I will be able to take advanced classes when coming in because of the skills I’ve attained by participating in SkillsUSA.

What should people know about you? I am an independent kid who is homeless and trying to better my life.


How has the Oxford Hills community helped you? They helped me get into a homeless shelter.

How do you want to help the community in the future? I want to help keep the cities fun looking and not just sad bland buildings with nothing cool looking about them.

Oxford Hills Technical School students, from left, Amber Walker-Goodrich, Connor Taylor and Mariah Moore wear the gold medal honors they won during the 2024 SkillsUSA conference. They are raising money to attend the national conference in Atlanta in June. Submitted photo Submitted photo

Mariah Moore 

For what competition did you win? Job skills demonstration in auto collision repair.

What did you do, why did you win? I showed how to fix a bird’s nest in a MiG welder and fixed a malfunction in a wire feed welder.

What do you hope to gain at nationals? Meet new people, explore new places.


How has being in a tech program impacted your education and goals? Before taking auto collision I had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but taking this class opened so many new doors for me to explore.

What are your plans after graduation? I will attend Eastern Maine Community College to earn a degree in welding.

Connor Taylor

What was your entry at SkillsUSA Maine?  At states, I competed in three stations: an in-person estimate on a truck’s bedside, a virtual estimate on a front-end collision and parts identification, and a written test. I won because I took the extra time to go out to a body shop and learn as much as I could about estimating to prepare me for the competition.

How has being a part of SkillsUSA helped you? SkillsUSA helped me understand how to set goals and find out how to achieve them.

What should people know about you? I only started writing estimates about a month before the state competition.

How has being in a tech program impacted your life? I am now working at Coleman’s Collision as an estimator. I hope to eventually have my own body shop.

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