Congratulations to our SkillsUSA Winners!
First Place, Jade Saccomanno
Second Place, Sofia Sanchez
Third Place, Roselyn Lima
Crime Scene Investigation
Third Place, Joseph Bergey, Sabrina Cardenas, Brian Penn
First Place, Giovanni Wellington
Second Place, Felix Medina
Third Place, Leslie Patino
First Place (tie), Harley Fernandes/Brandon Perez
First Place, Madison-Taylor Fry
Second Place, Eileen Plotkin
Third Place, Michelle Valbuena
Second Place, Veronica Dutton
Third Place, Jennifer Lopez
Job Skill Demo, Year 1
Second Place, Jorge Corona-Lopez
Job Skill Demo, Year 2
SkillsUSA offers students opportunity to test their skills
The week of March 22 was a busy one at the Center for Career Services as students competed in classrooms and conference rooms which served as stages while SkillsUSA judges watched and evaluated them virtually. There were competitions in a number of programs and skill areas that took place throughout the week.
SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization, sponsors an annual competition in which members can measure their knowledge of a subject through a series of tests, both written and practical. Students in the region compete with other technical schools in hopes of advancing to states and nationals. This year the annual event was completely virtual.
With a laptop computer propped up a few feet away, a select group of juniors and seniors in Cosmetology carefully brushed, curled, sprayed and pinned their mannikins’ hair while the judges watched. Juniors began with mannikins’ hair in rollers, while seniors had to start with their mannikins’ hair down. They all had two hours to complete their looks and were required to incorporate the latest trends. Once done, they had to hold their mannikin up to the camera and show their work. Competitors were also required to complete a written exam.
“I was kind of nervous,” Bianca Torello, a senior at Port Chester High School, said. “I wanted everything to fall perfectly. I think the camera made it easier. It didn’t feel like we were being watched.”
In the building next door, culinary students focused on cake decorating in a quiet kitchen. Each was responsible for decorating a birthday cake with vibrant colors and incorporating frosting flowers and writing.
Laptops shared the space with frosting-filled pastry bags as judges looked on virtually.
Once done, students held up the laptops so judges could get a bird’s-eye view of the top of the cake.
“You guys did a great job,” Careers chef and teacher Peter Tomaskovic said.
Security, Law and Policing teacher Ray Sulla serves as lead adviser for students involved in SkillsUSA and worked with his students for their competitions. Some were involved in a criminal justice test in which they simulated a traffic stop and arrest involving an alleged drunk driver. Another group competed in a crime scene investigation and had to process a simulated homicide scene and collect and process evidence.
“It was hot,” student Brian Penn, a junior at New Rochelle High School, said of having to wear a protective paper suit while processing the crime scene. He worked with a team of his classmates to mark and photograph evidence and prepare the body, in the form of a dummy for testing purposes, for evidence collection. All the students had to write a report up about it all as well.
“But it was fun,” Brian concluded, adding he hopes to one day work in a special victim’s unit.
“I had some butterflies,” Felix Medina, a junior at Port Chester High School and student in the Security, Law and Policing program, said about his competition in Criminal Justice.
“The only thing I had to do was on competition day, execute it perfectly,” Felix said.
He liked his odds. During the competition, he had to simulate pulling a car over and go through all the necessity protocols, including conducting a field sobriety test and putting the person under arrest. In addition, he was responsible for writing up the case report after.
Joining him on this skill test was Giovanni Wellington, a junior at New Rochelle High School, who has wanted to be a police officer since he was child.
“I love giving back to others,” Giovanni said.
Like his classmate, Giovanni had to conduct a traffic stop for a suspicion of Driving Under the Influence.
Their work was recognized. Giovanni and Felix, along with classmate Leslie Patino, from Sleepy Hollow High School, received first place awards.
Architecture and Interior Design students Sofia Elias, a junior at Pelham Memorial High School, and Alexander Anderson, a junior at Harrison High School, were in the spotlight sharing the design they created for a café.
Sofia began with a mood board, posting photos of design ideas that she liked and depicted the style she hoped to achieve for the café. It was then up to Alexander to take all of these ideas and create a comprehensive design, being sure to incorporate the preferred look and budget considerations.
The result was a minimalist design featuring environmentally friendly elements that the two presented to the SkillsUSA judges. They shared with the judges the process they used to design the plans.
“It’s very modern,” Sofia said. “We used recycled wood and included skylights to save energy.”
“I was a little nervous at the beginning,” Alex said of having to present. “But then it felt normal.”
He is hoping to become an architect and design hospitals or other medical facilities, or even skyscrapers.
Sofia is interested in the design elements of her studies and is considering a career as an interior designer.
Nursing assistant students’ competition consisted of showing judges the appropriate way for them to disinfect their hands before working with a patient. They then walked through a series of exercises on the lower right extremities of a patient, in the form of a dummy.
“I’m just relieved it’s over,” Yadira Velancia, a junior from New Rochelle High School and fellow nursing assistant student, said after her competition. “I was trying to stay as calm as possible.”
She was not the only one who felt a sense of relief upon finishing the competition. Animal science students Jennifer Lopez, Hannah Alfano and Veronica Dutton all shared a similar sentiment.
The three competed in Job Interview, also done virtually. They were required to answer a series of questions from judges about their work in animal science, as if they were actually interviewing for a job.
“This is such a good feeling,” Veronica said when she was done.
“You guys did such a great job, I was blown away,” their teacher, Michael D’Abbruzzo, said to them.