ECC students excel at SkillsUSA Illinois State Championship

  • Tags: Achievements
Published 05/13/2022
From left to right: Tom Limberis, instructor of welding; Chuck Timm, volunteer; Debora Culajay, student; Susan Timm, EdD, professor of business; Yeung Ming Li, student; Christian Cruz, student; William J. Lietzow III, student; Saffron Bruno, student; Meralia Gómez, student; Brendan Schoneberg, student; Zachary Kuhlman, student;

From left to right: Tom Limberis, instructor of welding; Chuck Timm, volunteer; Debora Culajay, student; Susan Timm, EdD, professor of business; Yeung Ming Li, student; Christian Cruz, student; William J. Lietzow III, student; Saffron Bruno, student; Meralia Gómez, student; Brendan Schoneberg, student; Zachary Kuhlman, student;


Elgin Community College career and technical students traveled to Peoria, Ill., to compete in the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference on April 29-30. This was the first SkillsUSA competition to take place in person in three years.

Eleven ECC students competed in six categories: Culinary Arts, Customer Service, Cybersecurity, Welding, Welding Fabrication, and Welding Sculpture. In a college first, ECC students took gold in every contest they entered.

Gold-Winning Students:

Culinary: Brendan Schoneberg (Huntley)

Customer Service: Meralia Gómez (Carpentersville)

Cybersecurity Team: Debora Culajay (Elgin) and Yeung Ming Li (international student from Hong Kong residing with an ECC Homestay Family in Crystal Lake)

Welding: William J. Lietzow III (Winfield)

Welding Fabrication Team: Nicholas Grobe (Sugar Grove), Noah Hercl (South Elgin), and Travis Jones (Algonquin)

Welding Sculpture: Saffron Bruno (St. Charles). Bruno also took bronze in the welding contest

Also representing ECC in the competition were welders Christian Cruz (Cortland), who took silver in welding sculpture, and Zachary Kuhlman (Elgin), who placed fifth in welding.

The nine gold-winning students will now prepare for the National SkillsUSA Competition, which will be held in Atlanta, Ga., in June.

The students competing were accompanied by Welding Team Advisors/Coaches Tom Limberis, instructor of welding, and Marc Hucek, associate professor of welding. Also traveling with the team were Professor of Business Glenn Earl as a judge for the Job Interview and Entrepreneurship contests and Professor of Business Susan Timm, EdD, as a Contest Supervisor for Job Interview and Entrepreneurship.

“These competitions give students real-life scenarios that can help push them to excel in their career,” said Limberis. “I am very proud of how our students did in the contest. One of the best parts for me was after their contest. They were instantly hooked and very eager for nationals or next year’s contest.”

SkillsUSA is an organization for technical, skilled, health, and personal service occupations students in high school and college. More than 302,000 members belong to over 14,000 chapters in 55 U.S. states and territorial associations.