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

Selected from MCEF’s three districts are Levi Burge of Pearl River High School Career and Technology Center, Tucker Hicks of the Lee County School District Career and Technical Center, and Chase Nicholson of Philadelphia/Neshoba County Career 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."
Burge is a leader in the classroom and the shop. Touting a 3.6 grade point average, he holds core and welding credentials from the National Center for Construction Education and Research. His skills earned him top honors in the 2019 FFA welding competition along with the class award for welding.
Away from school, Burge enjoys construction work with his father in addition to serving as a firefighter with Derby Whitesand Volunteer Fire Department. Upon graduation, he plans to work as a pipefitter for two years before establishing his own mobile welding service.
Combining an eagerness to learn with a strong work ethic, Hicks is hailed for his willingness to help others and excels in all subject areas as evidenced by his near-perfect grade point average.

At Mooreville High School, Hicks is a member of SkillsUSA, the band, choir, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also serves his church as a Backyard Bible Club volunteer and helps with cleaning activities at the Ronald McDonald House benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Hicks plans to study engineering at Itawamba Community College.
As a home schooler, Nicholson chose the center as a way to interact with other students and boost his welding skills to contribute to his dad’s hobby of rebuilding cars in the family workshop. The experience, he says, has led him to choose welding as a career.
Equally active in the community, Nicholson participates in many service-related projects at the Career Tech Center while serving his church as a member of the youth group, Vacation Bible School leader, and manager of the video/technical needs.
His plans call for working on the pipeline for five years and then returning to Philadelphia to open his own welding business.
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