Cedar Ridge SkillsUSA students win big in state competition

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Cedar Ridge Radio Students recently placed first and second in the Audio/Radio Production contest at the state SkillsUSA competition in Hot Springs which was held April 9 – 11.

Senior Toni Cremeens and freshman Donnie Thorne won gold medals, while seniors Jonah Rice and Hunter Bear won silver. Nine teams were asked to write, record, produce, and edit a 2-minute news story and a 30-second public service announcement about SkillsUSA and its importance.

“I couldn’t be more proud for these kids. They have worked hard for this” said Caleb Conyers, the radio instructor at Cedar Ridge. “I have had some of these students for four years, and to see them medal their senior year is amazing.”

“I’ve learned so much from my four years of radio classes, and to graduate with a gold medal in Audio/Radio Production, I couldn’t be happier. I still can’t believe we won,” said senior Toni Cremeens, who is this year’s president of the Cedar Ridge SkillsUSA Chapter.

“Donnie is a great teammate and we are so excited to represent the state of Arkansas at Nationals.”


Skills-1.jpgToni Cremeens (left), and Donnie Thorne with Cedar Ridge SkillsUSA / Image submitted

“Radio has been one of the biggest parts of my life in high school, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Mr. Conyers,” said Jonah Rice, who is also the president of the Cedar Ridge Radio class.

“I have had Jonah and Toni for four years, and Hunter for three. This is Donnie’s first year and he can compete for three more years. These, and all of my kids, are why I show up every day. It’s about them. I’m truly blessed to work with so many amazing students.” said Conyers.

Skills-3.jpgHunter Bear (left) and Jonah Rice / Image submitted

SkillsUSA is a national organization geared toward preparing high school and college students for their potential careers. Students can compete in contests ranging from Audio/Radio Production to Welding.

“It’s neat to walk around the Hot Springs Convention Center and see teenagers competing in cosmetology, diesel engine repair, HVAC, welding, broadcast news, photography, culinary arts, and criminal justice, and it all be on the same floor,” said Conyers

Students who place first are awarded tuition scholarships to most two-year colleges.

“These teenagers, whether high school or college, are preparing for their future. They are skilled in a career that they love,” said Conyers. “A lot of companies who sponsor SkillsUSA will offer internships or jobs to those who win medals, because they know the quality of the student’s work will be great.”


Cremeens and Thorne will go on to represent the state of Arkansas at the SkillsUSA Nationals competition in Louisville, Ken. this June.

“We have a lot of work to do, but it will be a fun and amazing trip” Conyers said.

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