While in Louisville, Mike Rowe urges Ohio high school student to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

While in Louisville, Mike Rowe urges Ohio high school student to return SkillsUSA award

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mike Rowe, the former star of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" reality TV series sounded off on a national controversy while in Louisville attending the SkillsUSA conference this afternoon.

The controversy involved a report by The Columbus Dispatch, written by Kaitlin Fochesa. The report was about Shania Clifford, a 17-year-old from Scioto County, who won a gold medal in the SkillsUSA Ohio masonry competition in late April. Clifford was told that she would compete at the SkillsUSA national convention, taking place in Louisville right now.

But according to the report, Clifford later found out -- via Facebook -- that a clerical error was made and that the boy who had originally been declared the third-place winner had actually placed first. Clifford was allowed to keep her award, but relegated to third place, and notified that the boy would be competing in Louisville instead.

"If they allow me to keep my award, they should allow me to keep my place," Clifford told The Columbus Dispatch. 

This afternoon, Mike Rowe responded on Facebook to a viewer question about the controversy, calling on Clifford to return the award:

But the bigger question now, is what should Shania do? She hasn’t asked me, but if she did, I know exactly what I would tell her. I would tell her to return the Gold Medal at once, along with her sincere thanks for the opportunity to compete, her heartfelt congratulations to the actual winner, and her steadfast resolve to come back next year and kick some serious ass. If I were her, I would make it crystal clear to those petitioning in my name that I had absolutely NO interest in keeping a trophy that was awarded to me by mistake, or competing in a contest for which I didn’t actually qualify.

The whole point of SkillsUSA, is to better prepare kids for opportunities in the skilled workforce. But employers today are looking for more than skilled workers - they’re looking for workers with character. Returning a Gold Medal she’s entitled to keep in an age where everyone expects a trophy, is a mark of character. Shania will have other opportunities to win all sorts of awards, but she’ll never have a better opportunity to distinguish herself among her peers and potential employers. I hope she takes it.

Rowe said he was making the comments from "here in Louisville" and posted a picture of himself in Freedom Hall, wearing a "SkillsUSA" ballcap. 

Click HERE to view the whole Facebook post.

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