PEARL ― Three of Mississippi’s top-performing career and technical education students are receiving student of the year awards from the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation. The annual recognition celebrates the top-achieving career and technical education students from MCEF's three districts and includes a $500 cash prize.

Recipients include northern district winner Michael Huling, a welding student at Itawamba Career and Technical Center; central district winner Kaden McDonald, a construction technology student at Philadelphia/Neshoba County Career Technical Center, and southern district winner Madelynn Rich, a welding student at George County High School.
"We congratulate Michael, Kaden and Madelynn for earning student of the year awards and for being excellent representatives of high school career tech programs in Mississippi," said Mike Barkett, MCEF president. "We're proud of all of our students of the year and students of the month for helping ensure that Mississippi has a highly skilled workforce to support the state's growing construction and manufacturing industries."

Student of the year winners were selected from a field of 20 students of the month for 2019-20. Instructor nominations for student of the month are based on grades, attendance, class discipline, outstanding achievements, leadership abilities and post-graduation plans.

Praised by instructors for his strong work ethic and positive attitude, Huling is a leader at his center and in his community. His accomplishments include being selected as Itawamba’s 2018 student of the year and serving as a volunteer with the Evergreen/Carolina Fire Department.

Huling will pursue additional welding studies at Itawamba Community College.

McDonald sets the bar when it comes to applying his knowledge of mathematics to complete construction shop assignments. He is a special honors scholar with an overall 95 average for all classes and a perfect score on his statewide Algebra I assessment.

A member of the Technology Student Association and SkillsUSA, McDonald is researching the possibilities of studying petroleum engineering at LSU.

Touting a perfect grade point average, Rich excelled as a member of the Collegiate Academy and finished the Spring with her high school diploma and an associate degree. She is NCCER credentialed and active in craft events across the state, recently capturing second place in the district FFA welding division, first in regionals and third in the state.

Rich is equally impressive in the classroom, having been cited as a top student in honors English, honors algebra and trigonometry, and all of her college prep classes consisting of world civilization, psychology, English composition, algebra, and biology. Rich plans to enter the apprenticeship program at Ingalls Shipbuilding.

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