National Signing Day

Skills USA National Signing Day
Posted on 05/10/2019

For Immediate Release



Ponaganset High School Collaborates with SkillsUSA and Klein Tools to Recognize High School Seniors Entering the Skilled Trades during

National Signing Day

May 8, 2019

Local high school hosted National Signing Day event to honor high school students pursuing a career in the skilled trades


May 8, 2019 Ponaganset High School, Glocester R.I – In order to help close the skills gap and raise awareness of career options in the skilled trades, Ponaganset High School, a comprehensive high school that includes college and career preparation, participated in SkillsUSA National Signing Day on May 8th.  Sponsored by Klein Tools, Signing Day celebrates thousands of high school seniors across the country pursuing a career in the skilled trades. Ponaganset High School was one of approximately 300 schools across the U.S. participating in National Signing Day, which recognized over 2,500 students nationwide.

“We are thrilled we were able to partner with SkillsUSA and Klein Tools’ for the first-ever National Signing Day,” says Dr. Renee Palazzo, principal of Ponaganset High School. “As the shortage of skilled workers worsens, we at Ponaganset High School encourage students to enter this rewarding industry upon graduation. Our seniors should be very proud of everything they have accomplished at Ponaganset High School as they continue to further their education and training post-graduation. We wish them all the best as they prepare for their lifelong careers.”

In a style similar to “National Signing Day” events for high school student athletes, 14 high school seniors at Ponaganset High School were recognized as they signed their “letters of intent” for a job offer, apprenticeship or advanced technical training. Students were celebrated among school administrators, teachers, SkillsUSA advisors, family and friends, as they take the next step in their education in residential wiring, building trades and renovations, HVAC, plumbing or landscaping. High school seniors also received a Klein Tools Signing Kit, which included a hat, t-shirt, and their first pair of Klein Tools pliers to begin their lifelong careers.

“This was an exciting day for our students as they committed to careers in the skilled trades,” says Mr. Steven Martin, Materials and Manufacturing teacher and SkillsUSA advisor at Ponaganset High School. “These seniors have worked hard over the years to prepare for this next chapter of their life. Through their education at Ponaganset High School, our seniors understand the hard work needed to be successful in the trades. This recognition is very well deserved to each and every one of them.”

“The first National Signing Day was a success thanks to Ponaganset High School and its students,” says Mark Klein, co-president of Klein Tools. “Best of luck to these students as they enter the skilled trades to start their careers with their first pair of Klein Tools pliers.”

The following students participated in today’s event:

Zachary MacLeod – Air Force, Electrical Engineering

Devlyn Hensley – HVAC , NEIT

Aaron Ware – Electrical Apprentice, CCRI

John Bonin – Self-employed, NEIT Electrical

Joseph Vinagro – Operator, JR Vinagro Corporation

Jeremy Stone – Landscaping, CCRI Mechanical Engineering

Tyler Connolly – HVAC, NEIT

Drew Briggs – Self-employed Landscaping, CCRI

Aidan Quinn – URI Environmental Management

Travis Trotta – Plumbing Industry

Mitchell Lapierre – Welding or HVAC Industry

Gage Nickell – NETTS, CDL Training

Logan Thibeault – CCRI Electrical

Joshua Franco – Construction, Family Business

The Animal & Plant Science Pathway prepares students for successful careers in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems. Agricultural science education instruction is conveyed through three major components: Classroom/Laboratory instruction, Work-based learning and Participation in student leadership organizations (National FFA Organization).

The Materials & Manufacturing Pathway features courses that educate students on the latest techniques for constructing hands-on projects, while also providing them with courses steeped in craftsmanship. This pathway has been designed to equip students with 21st Century workforce skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), while also emphasizing leadership, collaboration and problem-solving skills. Students in this pathway have the opportunity to complete industry-specific certifications that will place them far and above their peers in terms of the level of work-ready preparation upon earning their high school diplomas.

For more information on National Signing Day, visit:

For more information on Ponaganset High School, visit:

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About Ponaganset High School

At Ponaganset High School, we are a community continuously working towards creating experiences for our students that include project based learning, collaborative tasks and partnerships with outside organizations. Our goal is to empower our teachers and students to take ownership for their learning and work collaboratively to expand their knowledge through authentic experiences. Our high school is a school where community is at the core of what we do and who we are, and encourage our students to engage in academic, extra and co-curricular involvement to facilitate this mindset.

About Klein Tools

Since 1857 Klein Tools, a family-owned and operated company, has been designing, developing and manufacturing premium-quality, professional-grade hand tools. The majority of Klein tools are manufactured in plants throughout the United States and are the No. 1 choice among professional electricians and other tradespeople. Klein is a registered trademark of Klein Tools, Inc. For more information, visit

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens as it improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce. The nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. SkillsUSA helps every student excel through the development of SkillsUSA Framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. The association serves more than 360,000-member students and instructors per year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. Local, state and national championships are designed and judged by industry to set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide recognition opportunities for students. SkillsUSA programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom and promote community service. SkillsUSA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is cited as a “successful model of employer-driven youth development training program” by the U.S. Department of Labor. SkillsUSA offers technical skill assessments and workplace credentials through the SkillsUSA Career Essentials program, a cutting-edge solution that defines, implements and measures career readiness skills for students. For more information:


Media Contact:

Mr. Steven Martin, Ponaganset High School



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