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

Selected from MCEF’s northern and southern districts, respectively, are Jesse Patrick, a carpentry student at Alcorn Career and Technology Center, and Harley Zeigler, a construction student at Franklin 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 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."

An industrious student with a positive attitude, Patrick is a member of SkillsUSA and the National Technical Honor Society. Setting him apart is his motivation to go beyond the course requirements to excel at his trade.
At Kossuth High School, Patrick is a three-time All-State competitor on the cross country team, which he helped win a state championship and three division titles. He also participates on the baseball team and in numerous community activities.

Patrick plans to attend trade school with a focus in HVAC or welding.
Meanwhile, Zeigler, touting a 3.6 grade point average and a perfect attendance record, is a strong leader with an eagerness to share her knowledge with others. Notably, she led her center’s community service initiative to build and deliver a bed to a local child during the recent SkillsUSA Give Back Day.

Her many extracurricular activities include JROTC, archery and Beta Club, for which she is now working to improve her skills for the woodworking competition at the state convention.

In addition to earning the JROTC United States Warrant Officer's Association Silver Medallion for Leadership along with FCCTC Student of the Quarter honors, Zeigler volunteers at Heaven's Manna, a food pantry in her community.

Following graduation, she plans to study criminology.

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