MCEF Names January Students of the Month

Recognition celebrates top-performing career and technical education students

PEARL ― The Mississippi Construction Education Foundation is recognizing four career and technical education standouts as its students of the month for January.

Selected from MCEF’s four districts are Elijah Caudill of Winston-Louisville Career and Technology Center, James Karlson of the Academics STEM Institute at Gulfport High School, Anthony Russell of Simpson County Technical Center, and Amauri Washington of Amory Career and Technical 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 next 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.”

Caudill is past president of the Opening and Closing team that earned first place honors at the district and state levels in 2016 and is currently preparing for the 2018 competition as a member of the welding fabrication team. Upon graduation, he plans to earn his associate degree from East Central Community College before studying aerospace engineering at Mississippi State University.

Combining hard work with an inquisitive spirit, Karlson is the SkillsUSA vice president, a student council representative, and a member of the Art Club and the National Technical Honor Society at Gulfport High School. Currently undecided on his post-graduation plans, he desires a career that allows him to meld his passion for art and creativity.

Recipient of his center’s outstanding metal fabrication student award, Russell owns top honors for performance in the SkillsUSA regional competition and the Delta Technical College welding contest. He will attend Southwest Mississippi Community College followed by pursuit of a geological engineering degree from the University of Mississippi.

Washington inspired his 2016 Opening and Closing Team to a third-place finish at the SkillsUSA regional competition and is now preparing to compete in the CNC milling or turning technology event with hopes of advancing to the state competition in the spring. As treasurer of the Amory Chapter of SkillsUSA, Washington plans to study precision machining and manufacturing technology at Itawamba Community College.

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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