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Norwin grad takes on criminal justice SkillsUSA competitors in Kentucky |

Norwin grad takes on criminal justice SkillsUSA competitors in Kentucky

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, June 21, 2017 4:54 p.m
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
Holley Sanner of North Huntingdon

A Norwin High School graduate who wants to be a Pennsylvania State Police trooper competed in a national championship against fellow career and technology students in a test of her law enforcement knowledge.

“The competition was great,” Holley Sanner, 18, of North Huntingdon, said after the competition in the criminal justice contest at the Skills­USA championships in Louisville, Ky. While she did not win a medal during the June 21-22 event, Sanner said, “I felt really good with everything.”

“It was hard at times since laws in every state are different and the judges had to keep that in mind. I know I made a few mistakes, but I’m really happy with what happened,” said Sanner, who recently graduated from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton.

Sanner, the daughter of David and Paula Sanner, competed against about 35 other high school students in a contest featuring a written exam, an interview with two local police officers and an observation test that required her to answer questions about a photo after looking at it for two minutes. The criminal justice competition was one of about 100 separate contests.

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of more than 335,000 students and advisers, working with industry representatives to help prepare students for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

Sanner qualified for the national championship by winning the district SkillsUSA competition, then in April took home the gold in the state SkillsUSA competition in Lebanon. As a junior, Sanner won the district competition and placed third in the state competition.

Sanner praised her teachers for helping her succeed at CWCTC and the SkillsUSA competition.

“The program has really helped me a lot. I give all my thanks to my teachers Mr. (Michael) Dortenzo and Mr. (Joseph) Martin for all the help over the past three years, because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Sanner said.

“Holley is a superb student and a respectful young woman who deserves to be recognized. We’re very proud of her,” Martin said.

CWCTC has had a few students over the past few years compete in the national SkillsUSA Championship, said Eric Westendorf, assistant director. About five years ago, John Sadler, a Penn-Trafford student, reached the national championships in the criminal justice competition, Martin said.

Sanner is scheduled to go through basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri as a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. She enlisted in September under a delayed-entrance program, but has been training once a month at the National Guard armory on Donohoe Road in Hempfield. After a 10-week basic training program, she will have another 10-week training session to become a military police officer.

She said she has been attracted to law enforcement since she was a youngster.

“When I was little, I wanted to be a K-9 officer,” Sanner said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, or via Twitter .

Categories: Norwin
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