Every year, during March and April, the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) hold state conferences to allow students to come together for motivational speakers, leadership competitions, and skill competitions. SkillsUSA established in 1965, is the largest of these national CTSOs that represent a partnership of students, teachers and industry.
The Nevada State Conference and Competitions saw approximately 1,500 students from across Nevada compete in leadership and industry related skill competitions in Reno on April 10-13, 2018. All of the students display excitement and determination as they put their training to the test in contests ranging from carpentry, robotics, animation, and digital cinema production. Deadlines are tight and expectations high.
Sarina Dilwith and Jack Tonner of AACT competed in the Digital Cinema Production Category. They were so dedicated that they stayed up all night editing their short film. They persevered and managed to nail the theme, “The Leader Within.” These students presented their project and short film to the judges and received the silver medal honor for their creative effort.
“I’ve seen teams leave on a break and just never come back,” said Drano Lynch, a judge for 3-D Visualization and Animation. “But they seem to be handling it well this year.” Lynch, a veteran architect who used to compete, transitioned into volunteering for the past 19 years. “I witnessed so many local volunteers working diligently to make this exciting and a meaningful experience available to students.”
The talent level was impressive and diverse. Students excelled at articulating and expressing their knowledge. In the Reno Ballroom, students were behind computers planning, prototyping, and creating like professionals. Their efforts speak highly of the preparation they receive in the WCSD Signature and CTE programs and throughout the state. The event offers a superb opportunity for them to apply their skills in this simulation of a real working environment.
The Reno Events Center hosted the construction trades competition. Hammers pounded and power tools buzzed as students participated in construction, building structures, complete with framing, plumbing, and masonry. These students will be competitive in the job market by the time they finish high school. They are positioned for well-paying jobs requiring “middle skills” and may also continue on to college. Students were also competing on the campuses of TMCC and WNC, in contests requiring specialized equipment like culinary arts and welding.
“The event is monumental to put on each year”, remarked Sindie Read, Nevada State Director for SkillsUSA, “but with the help of the Reno community we are able to pull it off.”