WATERVILLE — Kelsea Tortorella remembers riding in the car with her mother, tossing about ideas for what she might major in when she goes to college next year.

Tortorella, 17, said she doesn’t like the sight of blood or needles, so she ruled out the medical profession; she said she thinks the field of law has too many rules, so she eliminated that as a possible career; and she decided she is not much of a writer, so writing was out.

But she is very creative, and that prompted her to think about going into architecture and interior decorating.

As a junior at Waterville Senior High School, she decided to study architectural drafting at Mid-Maine Technical Center. Before she knew it, she was competing in the state 2011-12 SkillsUSA state competition March 15 and 16 in Bangor, won a gold medal for designing a house, and now is headed to the national competition June 23-27 in Kansas City.

“I absolutely love it,” Tortorella said of her chosen field. “It sparked my interest last year, taking architectural drafting.”

Tortorella, whose parents are Stacy and Daniel Tortorella, of China, said she plans to attend Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston after high school. She will join five other Mid-Maine Technical Center students at the national competition.

MMTC Director Mark Powers praised the students.

“Mid-Maine Tech is extremely proud of the success of our students at the State SkillsUSA Championships,” Powers said. “The students competed in 20 competitions and were awarded 13 medals. All of our student competitors finished in the top 10 of their skills competition. It was an excellent day for our students and school.”

Peter Hallen, MMTC’s student services coordinator, echoed Powers’ sentiments.

“We’re obviously very proud of the students for what they’ve accomplished, grateful to the instructors who have helped prepare them and the parents and families that have supported them,” Hallen said.

Makenzie Kohler, 15, a Messalonskee High School sophomore, earned a goal medal at the state event for her jobs skills demonstration in first aid and CPR.

“I did a demonstration on CPR, with a CPR doll and I talked about the AED (automated external defibrillator) and how to perform CPR on yourself,” Kohler said.

Kohler competed against 16 people at the competition in Bangor, which was hosted by the United Technologies Center. She said she plans to be an EMT and work in an ambulance. Her parents are Kayla and Peter Kohler of Belgrade.

Other MMTC students headed for Kansas City include:

Michael Benecke, a Messalonskee High School junior who won a gold medal for firefighting at the state event. Benecke is the son of Julie and Michael Benecke, Sr., of Belgrade.

Christopher Warner, a Lawrence High School senior who earned a gold medal for cabinet making and has been accepted at Eastern Maine Community College, where he plans to study construction technology. His parents are Maureen and Stanley Warner of Clinton.

Nicholas Weymouth, a Lawrence High School senior who won a gold medal for precision machining. He has been accepted into the diesel hydraulics program at Northern Maine Community College. His parents are Dennis Weymouth of Clinton and Bettina Cota of South China.

Emily York, a Messalonskee High School junior who earned a gold medal for medical math. York, who plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, is the daughter of Donna and Mark York of Belgrade.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]


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