MCEF Names April Students of the Month

Recognition celebrates top-performing career and technical education students


PEARL ― The Mississippi Construction Education Foundation is recognizing four top-achieving career and technical education students as its students of the month for April.

Selected from MCEF’s four districts are Clay Artman of DeSoto County Career and Technology Center – East, Derik Bowden of Newton Career Center, Cole Ellington of the Kosciusko-Attala Career and Technical Center, and Kyle Newburn of Jackson County Technology Center.

Winners are chosen based on grades, attendance, discipline in class, outstanding achievements, leadership abilities, and post-graduation plans. All will compete for student of the year honors at the foundation’s annual awards program in May.

“We congratulate our student of the month winners for being such excellent representatives of high school career tech programs in Mississippi,” said Mike Barkett, MCEF president.  “We’re proud of each of them for helping ensure our state has a highly skilled workforce to support the state’s growing construction and manufacturing industries.”

Praised by teachers for his leadership and teamwork, Artman touts a 3.5 grade point average and a perfect attendance record at Lewisburg High School. A gifted builder and active member of his community, Artman plans to attend Northwest Mississippi Community College and then the University of Memphis to study engineering.

Exhibiting a passion for career and technical education, Bowden is a classroom leader and example for fellow students. Instructors praise his strong work ethic and eagerness to learn. Bowden, who will enter a vocational field upon graduation, ultimately plans to study nursing.

A senior at Ethel High School, Ellington is recognized for his strong work ethic and leadership skills. He is a consistent standout in craft competitions, including second place finishes in welding and welding fabrication during the 2016 and 2017 district events, respectively.

After graduation, Ellington plans to study welding at Holmes Community College. 

Setting Newburn apart is his remarkable desire to learn, a trait he has used to become one of the state’s top electronic technology students. Frequently requesting more homework and study options, Newburn was soon leading classroom discussions while guiding classmates to a better understanding of AC and DC circuits.

Newburn’s achievements didn’t stop there. His knowledge and application of electronics earned him first place honors in this year’s SkillsUSA district and state competitions with a shot at the national title this summer.

Upon graduation, Newburn plans to attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and eventually a four-year university in pursuit of a degree in engineering.

MCEF is a non-profit educational foundation that provides NCCER craft training and credentialing in more than 100 career and technical programs across the state. The foundation’s mission is to train individuals for the construction and manufacturing industries in Mississippi.

MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades. Learn more about MCEF at

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