Students building skills for success

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Students from ROP pose for a picture at the Town and Country Resort and Conference Center, in San Diego, on April 12. Senior Mayra Cardenas (in Photography), junior Felipe Salvatierre (in Costumer Service) and senior Metzly Millian (in Job Demonstration) took home the gold.

Zaira Zamora, Writer

After a year of highlighting their talents in the classroom, several students competed in the National SkillsUSA Conference, from April 12 to April 15, at the Town and Country Resort and Conference Center. The conference was held in San Diego, where nine students took home gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Taking home gold medals were senior Mayra Cardenas in Photography, junior Felipe Salvatierra in Costumer Service, and senior Metzly Milian in Job Demonstration.

“I was honestly shocked because I was thinking ‘Maybe I might receive a bronze medal’ and when my name wasn’t called for that, I stopped paying attention. Then my teacher informed me that I had been called up for the gold medal,” senior Mayra Cardenas said. “It’s definitely made me more confident because the people involved are professionals and they had nothing but good things to say about my work.”

These students will move on to the National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City to compete against other winners from all over the country.

“I’m nervous because I’m competing against the top students, but I’m confident.” Cardenas said. “I think that as long as I’m happy with my work that’s all that matters.”

Other Downey High School students who won silver and bronze medals will also have the privilege of competing in Kansas City due to the fact that some contestants dropped out. Winners of the silver medal include seniors Jasmine Castillo, Stephanie Montes, Breana Moreno, and Eda Nino in Health Knowledge Bowl, and sophomore Jimmy Ziegenbein in Technical Math. Another winner in Technical Math was junior Anne Choi, the only person to receive a bronze medal from Downey.

“I felt euphoric and experienced the peak moment when I received my medal,” sophomore Jimmy Ziegenbein said. “I feel I’ve gotten better at applying math in my life and figuring things out thanks to SkillsUSA.”

SkillsUSA is a program known nationwide for building the skills of students in order to prepare them for their jobs and thus achieve a successful workforce in the future. The membership of SkillsUSA has now grown to more than 5,100 members. Downey High School was given the Super Chapter award at the conference for having the highest membership in the state of California. The school offers numerous SkillsUSA programs including Carpentry, Costumer Service, Health Knowledge Bowl, Drafting A and B, Technical Drafting, Job Interview, Crime Scene Investigation, Job Demonstration, Photography, Related Technical Math, and Preschool Lesson Planning.

Club Entourage members were thrilled at the ten thousand dollar grant given by Lowe’s hardware store for classroom renovations at Downey High School. SkillsUSA, ROP, and CTE all supported the grant that will be used to build a sound stage sure to benefit students pursuing a career in Film, TV, and the Entertainment Industry. Downey High School continues to offer programs like SkillsUSA that ensure the success of the student body and of the school.

The national competition will be held from June 24 to June 27 in Kansas City, Missouri and the Vikings hope not to disappoint, especially after having their chances doubled. Membership is at its second highest this year, proving that the advantages it provides are attracting students nationwide.