Briana Lewis was all smiles in Atlanta in June as she stood on the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Championship stage. The first-year BOCES 2 Career and Technical Education student had a bronze medal around her neck after her third-place finish in Dental Assisting competition.
“In the beginning of the ceremony, they called the three states and those were the finalists,” said Lewis, recounting her national competition medal ceremony. “You went to the back and then they took you up on the big stage and in front of everyone, they told you if you got first, second or third.”
“At first, when they called the finalists, I wasn’t sure what it meant because I wasn’t really paying attention because I wasn’t expecting to be called at all,” added Lewis. “While I was doing the competition, I thought I was messing up really bad. I could have done a lot better than I did and I was honestly shocked that I got third.”
It wasn’t the first time that the Dental Assisting student was recognized this year for her accomplishments in the field. She tied for first place in the local competition and stood atop the podium at the state competition, punching her ticket to nationals.
The Dental Assisting competition evaluates student preparedness for employment and recognizes excellence and professionalism by testing their knowledge and skills aligning with the Dental Assisting National Board examination.
“I had to do instrument identification, facial anatomy and tooth anatomy, taking alignate impressions and pouring it up with stone, assembling a matrix band and aspirating syringe and a few other things,” said Lewis, a Brockport Central School District student.
When asked, Lewis knows exactly where her industry-aligned knowledge and skills have come from: her WEMOCO Dental Assisting teacher Jennifer Probst.
“Mrs. Probst has taught me everything. She prepared me throughout the whole year, so it made the competition even easier,” said Lewis.
The respect and admiration are mutual between Lewis and her teacher.
“We trained so hard for this,” said Probst, who also serves at the SkillsUSA Lead Advisor at WEMOCO. “Briana has great work ethic and initiative in her studies and is a model SkillsUSA student. I couldn't be happier for her and her accomplishments.”
Lewis aspires to go to college to become an orthodontist, but for now, her sights are set on big things for her senior year.
“With my program, I get to experience an internship which will be really good for my career and I can make connections in the field,” said Lewis. “With the competition, I automatically get to go to states next year and I want to go to nationals and actually win this time.”