Bringing home the gold

From April 4 to April 7, seniors Jesus Laurean and Zulema Zarate participated in the photography section of the Skills USA state competition in San Diego. Laurean won gold, which is the second year in a row that Downey High won gold in the photography section.

Gabby Sanchez, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Downey High School students participated in the State Skills USA competition held from April 4 to April 7 in San Diego where they faced three days of intense challenges. The statewide competition gave students from all over the state of California the opportunity to show off their leadership and occupational skills in various categories and brought home five gold medals, five silver, and two bronze.


The competition held more than 1,200 contestants, including students who joined together to strive for victory. The Skills USA contest allows high school students to debut their skills and talents in categories ranging from carpentry, photography, math, prepared speech, and other various categories.


Seniors Jesus Laurean and Zulema Zarate both thrived in the Regional competition, allowing them to advance to state and compete in the photography section. The two students did not realize they were capable of receiving such praise from a highly acclaimed competition and were both successful, each placing in their category.


For Laurean, it was his first year participating in the regional and state competition. He showcased a great amount of talent with his camera and received a gold medal.


“I was stressed out and hyped at the same time because I knew it was a huge competition and I was competing versus the best in the state,” Laurean said. “I was most nervous about the field test, which is where they give you an assignment to shoot and one hour to edit. It was fun and very educational; it taught me a lot about individualism and gave me confidence.”


Zulema Zarate, yearbook photographer and Advanced Photography student, applied her years of skill and threw herself into the photography section, proving to be a fierce competitor.


“Mrs. Cordova made us all participate in regionals and I made it to state,” Zarate said. “I was surprised I made it this far.”


She was prized with a silver medal bringing honor to her school and her photography teacher. Along with his gold medal, Jesus Laurean will also continue on to Nationals and compete among the highest and skilled students of the country.


Junior Fransisco Flores competed in two categories, the quiz bowl which is a team effort that includes answering several trivia questions regarding current events and other miscellaneous information, and intro to engineering. Successful in both, Flores took home the silver in intro engineering and received a gold medal for the quiz bowl.



“I knew what I was doing, but during the quiz bowl I felt a little less confident,” Flores said. “I was nervous that I might mess up during the quiz bowl because you lose points  and that brings your entire team down. That’s what I was most scared of.”


Upon receiving a gold medal, Flores will also compete in Nationals that will be hosted in Kansas City, Missouri. Other gold medalists include Shelsey Padilla, Elisa Shimada, Clare Cho, Jessica Shaffer, Gia Marciano, Minji Kim, Joyce Kang, Cecilia Godinez, Isel Medina, Judy Mendoza, and Paul Salazar.


The competitors who reigned victorious in the state round will continue on in attempt to claim more gold and silver medals at the National Convention in Kansas City Mission this June. The students, both anxious and excited, will continue to aim for the ultimate gold medal, bringing pride to their school and themselves.