Local JAG students place in the annual competition

INDIANAPOLIS – About 120 high-school students from across the state competed in 12 different categories at the 13th annual Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Career Development Conference on May 7.

The conference again was held virtually this year at the Indiana Government Center in downtown Indianapolis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Administered by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), JAG is a state-based, national non-profit organization that assists high-school students with earning their diploma.

The annual event allows JAG students to show off their talents and compete for financial prizes with their peers. This year, regional winners were challenged to compete virtually and send their efforts in for judging. DWD Chief Workforce Officer Mike Barnes, Associate Chief of Workforce Programs Leslie Crist and Director of Youth Initiatives Brianna Morse presented awards, which were broadcast on Facebook Live.

“The JAG program helps students to graduate from high school with a better sense of self, including their capability of setting and achieving career goals,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said. “JAG students participating in this year’s event received the recognition that they so rightly deserve.”

Kelsey Pease, a senior from Clarksville High School, took home the 2021 Outstanding Senior award, the most prestigious award, honoring the student that extols the virtues of JAG and commits to doing so in the future.

Kylee Simison of Blackford High School finished in second place, and Collin Spear of Mitchell High School placed third.

List of other winners:

Digital Invitation
1st: Emily Fryberger, Owen Valley High School
2nd: Ariana Watkins, Milan High School
3rd: Jahaira Santos Trujillo, McKenzie Center

Chapter Marketing Plan
1st: McCutcheon High School
2nd: Wabash High School
3rd: Paoli High School

Career Presentation
1st: Amya Higgins, Michigan City High School
2nd: Miranda Garcia, DeKalb High School
3rd: Chloe Smith, Cloverdale High School

Entrepreneurship Plan
1st: Simon Byers, Jordan Dragoo, Wabash High School
2nd: Samuel Mitchell, Eastern Greene High School
3rd: David Coons, Hunter Riggins, Cynthia Savage, Monroe Central High School

College Success Program
1st: Mason Caudill, Vincennes University
2nd: Emily Carrico: Vincennes University
3rd: Gretchen McCreary, Vincennes University

Creative Solutions
1st: Nathaniel Tennant, Wawasee High School
2nd: Brooklyn King, Tell City High School
3rd: Nicole Williams, Whiteland High School

Critical Thinking
1st: Karissa Drake, Twin Lakes High School
2nd: Morgan Walters, Mitchell High School
3rd: Lia Burton, Decatur Central High School

Employability Skills
1st: Karen Jimenez, Manchester High School
2nd: Taylor Harsin, Madison Consolidated High School
3rd: Kiera Smith, Cloverdale High School

Financial Literacy
1st: Madelyn Garner, Monroe Central High School
2nd: Brady Huff, South Dearborn High School
3rd: Kaitlyn Hiles, Pendleton Heights High School

Public Speaking
1st: Kaesyn Lester, Manchester High School
2nd: Eriyana Hart, North Montgomery High School
3rd: Fernando Hernandez, Southridge High School

Writing Skills
1st: Connor Trout, Manchester High School
2nd: Elizabeth Trader, Owen Valley High School
3rd: Aaryn Palermo, Princeton Community High School