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TCAT-Morristown's Travis France wins Colleges of Applied Technology Outstanding Student of the Year

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College of Applied Technology
TCAT Outstanding Student of the Year Travis France

Travis France was selected as the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Outstanding Student of the Year Monday night in Chattanooga.

France is a student at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Morristown in the drafting and computer-aided drafting technology program. He lives in Newport, Tenn., and is a 2015 graduate of Cocke County High School. 

He was one of nine regional finalists from across the state who advanced to the statewide Outstanding Student of the Year competition. The finalists spent Monday making oral presentations, presenting their resumes and responding to questions from a team of judges representing career technical education and industry.

The winner was announced during the opening ceremony of the SkillsUSA Tennessee competitions Monday night at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena. The eight finalists present took the stage while James King, vice chancellor for the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at the Tennessee Board of Regents, announced the winner.

As Outstanding Student of the Year, France will serve as an ambassador for the colleges of applied technology and career technical education. He will visit with public officials, employers, students and potential students to provide information about the TCATs and encourage support for them.

“I feel honored to win this award and I hope that other people of Cocke County who are just like me can be inspired by this and know that no matter where they are, they can do well,” France said after the announcement. “I hope I can be an advocate for technical education and the TCATs in our system and the great work they do for students. I also hope to help people realize that technical education is a career pathway that will secure their future, their future family’s education, as well as their lives.”

France was one of three students who addressed the Tennessee Board of Regents – the governing board for Tennessee’s community colleges and colleges of applied technology – about the impact of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program, at the board’s quarterly meeting March 31. In that presentation – and in his speech at SkillsUSA Monday evening -- France said Tennessee Promise enabled him to become the first member of his family to attend college.

“I wanted a college education and particularly a technical education. Thanks to Tennessee Promise, I became the first person in my family to have access to the ability to go to college,” France told the nearly 2,500 college and high school students attending the SkillsUSA state competitions in Chattanooga. He asked for a show of hands by students who are attending college through TNPromise, and scores of hands shot up.

His senior CAD technology instructor at TCAT-Morristown, Darren Aldred, described France as a great student who works as a mentor to his fellow students. “He’s awesome. He is the best student. He helps my other students and he’s there for me when I need him. He’s just amazing. I couldn’t be any more proud,” Aldred said.

The Outstanding Student of the Year is awarded a new car – this year a Nissan Versa sponsored by Nissan North America, Action Nissan in Nashville, Amatrol, Reletech and TCAT directors.

France is also Tennessee president of Skills USA, a nationwide partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA annually serves over 300,000 high school and college/postsecondary students, and their instructors in technical, skilled and service occupation instructional programs.

SkillsUSA chapters are in career and technical high schools, and two- and four-year colleges. Formerly known as the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Inc. (VICA), SkillsUSA was founded in 1965 to teach students leadership skills to complement their chosen careers. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety. For more information about SkillsUSA, please visit tnpsskillsusa.org or SkillsUSA.org.