For Alexis Shytle and Gracie Adams, state championships aren’t enough.  

Both were crowned best in Pennsylvania at the recent 2022 PA Skills USA state championships in Hershey — Shytle in culinary arts, Adams in commercial baking.

Now, the recent graduates of ELCO High School and the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center will be in Atlanta this week to compete against the country’s best for national championships.

Shytle completed the Culinary Arts program at LCCTC under the instruction of Chef Robert Corle. Adams completed the school’s Pastry Arts program under the guidance of Chef Brian Peffley.

Both graduated with honors and were inducted into LCCTC’s NatIonal Technical Honor Society.

In Atlanta, Shytle will demonstrate her knife skills for the judges by preparing a chicken two ways as part of a complete meal including appetizers, soup, and vegetables.

Adams will prepare orange honey wheat bread, puff pastries, pate a choux, cookies, apple galettes, jalapeño corn muffins, and a decorated cake.

Shytle will attend Westmoreland County Community College this fall and apprentice at the world-famous Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Adams is employed at Hotel Hershey’s pastry shop.

SkillsUSA “is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. … A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/post-secondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations,” its website says. It is the largest student career and technical education student organization in America.

The national conference starts Monday, with competition on Thursday and an awards ceremony on Friday.

There will be over 170 contests in leadership and occupational skills. All trades, including building, medical, computer, and hospitality, will be competing. 

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...