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Archive for September, 2011

SkillsUSA: Champions at Work!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

In June, over 5,700 students competed in the 48th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City. Of the 5,700 contestants 132 were Utah students. This conference showcased the best Career and Technical Education students in the nation, who first competed in their state and then advanced to the national competition.


The philosophy of the SkillsUSA Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance, and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

From cabinetmaking to cosmetology to Web design to telecommunications, Utah students competed in approximately 75 competitions. Students participating in SkillsUSA were required to complete a series of challenges. Congratulations to the eleven SkillsUSA 2011 secondary winners and to the 33 SkillsUSA 2011 postsecondary winners. Each student competed with dignity and represented the state of Utah extremely well.

Secondary Winners:
Kaydee Walters
Tooele High School
Gold medal winner in cabinetmaking

“[CTE] classes, my participation and leadership in SkillsUSA, and all the classes I will be taking in college will help me to enter and succeed in cabinetmaking and architectural woodwork.” Kaydee Walters

McKinzie Madsen
Desert Hills High School
Gold medal winner in advertising design

Maya Pendleton, Alexander Millar, Karlie Boam
Ben Lomond High School
Silver medal winner for chapter display

Brooke Miller
Skyline High School
Silver medal winner in job interview

Katrina Warkentin and Eliza Brown
Canyons Technical Education Center
Silver medal in nail care

Collin Rogow
Canyons Technical Education Center
Silver medal in telecommunications cabling

Rico Montoya and Elli Petersen
Canyons Technical Education Center
Silver in Web design

Watch a recap of the events at the National Skills and Leadership Conference for SkillsUSA in Kansas City at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTt6AxUgOyE.

“As we start a new year with current and new participants, I hope that all of our student and professional members recognize the value of full participation in SkillsUSA. There is tremendous potential for professional development, leadership development, social activities, service activities and many opportunities for students to kick-start their current and future career efforts. Near the end of the year we will add the “icing on the cake” that comes from local, regional, state and national competitions, where our students prove that they can compete with the very best career professionals that our country has to offer.”
Richard Wittwer, SkillsUSA Utah State Director

Join the 13,000 Utah SkillsUSA  members and the 264,000 National SkillsUSA members to develop skills to be successful in your future career. Contact your school SkillsUSA advisor to learn more about SkillsUSA.

Like national SkillsUSA members on Facebook.
Follow national SkillsUSA members on Twitter.

A Dynamic Duo in Web Design

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Elli Peterson became interested in web design when she wanted to make a custom template for her forum. Rico Montoya signed up for a web design class because he was interested in learning a skill that he had fun doing, and would make for a good career. “I think a really big factor that has made me pursue Web Development as a career is the relaxed environment that the industry portrays. The more laid-back attitude means a less stressful of a work environment, and really helps to make working easier,” said Rico.

At the beginning of the school year, Elli Peterson and Rico Montoya partnered to design a website for the Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC) Auto Collision Repair teacher, Mr. Wootton. They not only designed each web page, but filmed and edited the auto class video featured on the home page. Elli and Rico worked exceptionally well as a team and their partnership continued as they competed in numerous SkillsUSA competitions throughout the year.

In March, Elli and Rico competed in the SkillsUSA regional Web Design competition and took 1st place. They then advanced to the state competition. “State was a bit more intense; there were kids from other counties, some as far as Davis, as well as another team from our school,” said Elli. Elli and Rico wowed the judges with their Web page and took 1st place. In June, they competed at the National SkillsUSA Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. At the national competition each team was required to complete a series of challenges, with a focus on website usability and accessibility with at least one challenge related to scripting. Elli and Rico competed against 31 other teams and took 2nd place.


Elli submitted four pieces in the Salt Lake Community College 2011 Art Show. She won the Web Design portion of the competition and Elli was awarded a $50 cash prize. “Not big money, it got me a tank of gas, but it was a cool experience and that’s what I’m after,” said Elli. Then in May, Elli took “Best of Show” and Rico took 1st place in the Web Design competition (HTML/CSS Website) at the 2011 Utah Multimedia Arts Festival, at Utah Valley University.

Elli and Rico donated their talents and skills to a non-profit organization called Green Eyes in Africa and created an incredible banner/masthead for the website. During their senior year they interned with Oozle Media a local Web Development company. Upon graduation they were both hired by Oozle Media as full-time employees. “Eli and Rico are doing an incredible job and the company is extremely pleased with their new employees. Now they are talking about hiring more of our students and creating a high school to work type program at our school,” said David Kidd, Web Development instructor at the Canyons Technical Education Center.

“The goal of my class is to make the students as marketable as possible in Web Development by helping them earn college credits, industry certifications, and work experience while having fun at the same time. The way I teach my students is by hands-on, real world, projects that are given to them by me, industry professionals, and clients,” said Mr. Kidd.

“Mr. Kidd inspired me to work hard by his personal attitude and outlook about Web design. He was always showing us cool new technologies and was always very excited about our projects. His own achievements inspired me,” said Rico.

Rico Montoya

While in high school, Elli earned the IC3 and the CIW Site Development Foundation Certification. Rico earned the IC3, the CIW Site Development Foundation, and the Internet Business Foundation Certifications. Both are achieving their goals and are making a mark in the Web Design industry.

Elli Peterson and Rico Montoya: College and Career Ready!

Your Educational Suitcase

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education

Each year when September comes around there is excitement in the air as everyone heads back to school. Elementary, secondary, and college students have the chance for a new beginning and a fresh start at learning. Students and parents of all ages get involved with this process and everyone has a sense of anticipation. A new school year gives everyone an opportunity to think about what they want to accomplish as they add important skills to their educational suitcase. Giving some thought to what you are going to pack in that suitcase this year is a worth taking some time to think about and to set some goals to accomplish.

The media is full of stories about the importance of getting a good education to prepare for the future. Across the country, there is an emphasis on getting all students “college and career ready.” Here in Utah, each student will be expected to have a plan on how to become college and career ready that is carefully thought out by the student, a counselor, and a parent. There are many exciting pathways available for students to follow that will prepare for exciting careers, but success in the future requires serious preparation now.

In Utah, students are encouraged to prepare for and take the ACT test in their junior or senior year. This past year 73 percent of the graduating class took the test. The ACT test provides some valuable information concerning the students preparation for being college and career ready. ACT calls these measures “benchmarks” that students should meet to be prepared for success in the future. Students should look at the ACT “scores” as information on how well they are doing with this preparation.

Many factors need to come together to lead you to being prepared for the future. You should take the right sequence of courses for your chosen pathway. You should be serious about doing your very best work. You should take advantage of career and planning activities that will give you the information to make good decisions.

Working with school counselors, teachers, and parents, all students can be prepared for the future.

Get Involved in FCCLA!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is the student leadership organization for FACS Education. FCCLA provides students with opportunities to attain knowledge, skills, and leadership characteristics necessary to succeed in life and careers through Family and Consumer Sciences. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader, members develop skills for life.

In July, FCCLA members joined in Anaheim, California for the FCCLA National Leadership Conference. The theme for the conference was Imagination in Action. The conference is an annual event where members learn how to make an impact in the world around them, plan for the upcoming year, and participate in competitions and activities. Utah won 118 medals—21 gold, 62 silver, and 35 bronze. View the list of winners.

The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Chef Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef, motivational speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and Food Network television personality. Chef Jeff spoke about the power of potential and told his story “from the streets to the stove”. He motivated students to dream and encouraged them to reach their full potential.

At the conference state officers received training to reflect on lessons learned from last year, develop ideas, and were empowered to put their imagination into action during their year in office. Below are the goals for each Utah chapter:

  1. FCCLA in the Community:
    Participate in at least one meaningful community service project.
  2. Membership:
    Increase chapter membership by 15 new members.
  3. National Programs:
    Complete at least one National Program. The theme of the national outreach project is Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry.
  4. STAR Events:
    Participate in a STAR Event. Eighty percent of members currently participate in a STAR Event.

Meet the new Utah FCCLA State Officers:

Left to Right:  Katherine Hanzel, Vice President of Social Media; Brandie Orr, Vice President of Community Service; Kyle Andrews, Vice President of Alumni and Associates; McKell Price, President;  Dawson Johnson, Vice President of STAR Events; Ashley Labrum, 1st Vice President; Juniper Roman, Vice President of History; Savannah Allmon, Vice President of Public Relations.

McKell Price says, “Get involved! Whether in FCCLA or any other club, when you do this you make so many friends and stay busy, and you’ll have some great experiences!”

Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal communication necessary in the home and workplace. Contact the FCCLA advisor in your school to learn how to become a member of FCCLA. Get involved!

Utah has over 2,600 members in 91 chapters.