Dental assisting students compete at SkillsUSA nationals

July 3, 2012
Hundreds of dental assisting students gathered in Kansas City for a showdown for all the gold.

Hundreds of dental assisting students gathered in Kansas City for a showdown for all the gold. Armed with their dental tools, they represented the top dental assisting students from around the country.

When the final buzzer sounded, two students claimed the gold medals, taking home the country’s top honors in their competitions, along with scholarships, prize money, and new tools.

Dental Assisting

Contestants demonstrated procedures specified in the accreditation standards for Dental Assisting Education Programs of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students competed in chairside assisting; preparation of dental materials; infection control; and emergency, laboratory and office procedures. Skills evaluated included administrative, clinical or laboratory dental areas.

Jonathan Candido (Gold) - High School
Fall River, MA

Liza Grider (Silver) - High School
Dr. James A Forrest Career & Tech Center
Leonardtown, MD

Gabrielle Pipitone (Bronze) - High School
Charlotte Technical Center
Port Charlotte, FL

Johna Howard (Gold) – Postsecondary
Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College
Ogden, UT

Lola Iskandarova (Silver) – Postsecondary
Center For Technology
Essex Junction, VT

Ivey Norton (Bronze) – Postsecondary
Albany Technical College
Albany, GA

SkillsUSA returned to Kansas City on June 23-27, 2012 for its 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. Quality career and technical education was the centerpiece of the conference. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event with 94 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. SkillsUSA organizes this event, and it is considered the single greatest day of industry volunteerism in America every year at an estimated cost of more than $35 million. Each SkillsUSA Championships contestant is a state-level gold medalist.

Begun in 1967, the SkillsUSA Championships has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 5,600 competitors in 94 hands-on skill and leadership contests this year. SkillsUSA adds contests to the SkillsUSA Championships to meet the demands of new and expanding occupations. SkillsUSA affiliated instructional programs represent 130 different occupational areas.

SkillsUSA is a national organization of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. SkillsUSA helps high school and college students enrolled in career and technical education programs to excel by teaching employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical and service occupations skills. The association’s annual membership exceeds 300,000 students and instructors in more than 4,000 schools and colleges in every state, three territories and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit