William “Buddy” Murray, Computer Servicing Technology instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Perkinston Campus, was named 2009 Adviser of the Year at the state SkillsUSA awards ceremony. The ceremony, held at Gulf Coast‘s Jackson County Campus on April 16, with the culmination of the state competitions held on several Gulf Coast campuses and at area high schools.
The State SkillsUSA Directors' Association created the Adviser of the Year award to recognize and honor dedicated career and technical education instructors who serve as SkillsUSA advisers. State winners are submitted to the regional competition, and if they win, they are interviewed before a national winner is selected. Advisers, who join students at the state and national competitions, help students prepare for the tests involved in competitions and provide support before the events.
“I am happy about the award,” said Murray, who has taught at Gulf Coast since 1997. “SkillsUSA is a lot of work, but it is worth it because it gives the students something to work toward, and when they win, it builds their confidence immensely. I have been working with Skills at the college since 2000, and have directed SkillsUSA at the Perkinston Campus since 2003.”
As part of SkillsUSA competitions, Murray prepares students for the Quiz Bowl team and several other events at the Perkinston Campus. He also insures that competitors and their advisers have funding to attend state and national competitions. “We started sponsoring the concessions at the Bulldog football games in 2000 to raise money to send our students to competitions,” he said. “We’ve done it every year since. The upside is that students, who are often attending college on loans, scholarships and grants, don’t have to pay the major expenses involved in these competitions. We supply the registration fee, travel, hotel and food expenses, as well as the Skills jacket they are required to wear for competitions.”
The Gulf Coast SkillsUSA competitors did well this year at the state level. Nine students will proceed to national competitions in Kansas City, Mo., this summer. “The most we’ve ever taken to nationals was 15, but nine is an impressive number also. The competition is challenging. The students who go to nationals are at the top of their fields because the tests at nationals are set up by industry. They are very comprehensive tests. When students win at state and national levels, it gives them an entirely new attitude about success. And that’s really what our job as teachers and advisers is about – preparing our students for success.”