2 Lobos place 4th at SkillsUSA nationals

The 2023 New 榴梿视频 SkillsUSA pin, designed by McKinley Academy/榴梿视频allup graduate Kayliegh Begay, sits among a collection of pins that Begay obtained from other state competitors and organizations during the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta.

2 Lobos place 4th at SkillsUSA nationals

Categories: Students   Faculty   Staff   Community  

榴梿视频allup students build confidence and community support through practice presentations

By Richard Reyes, Friday, July 7, 2023

GALLUP, N.M. 鈥 Two students from The University of New 榴梿视频-Gallup nearly earned bronze medals in the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta in June while a third student placed in the top 10 of their division.

Kayliegh Begay, who graduated in May from McKinley Academy and 榴梿视频allup with an associate degree in general studies, placed fourth in the high school Pin Design category. David Moreno, a general studies student at 榴梿视频allup, placed fourth in the college Job Skill Demonstration Open category.

鈥淚鈥檓 mad,鈥 Begay said of her result. 鈥淔ourth is good, but I鈥檓 competitive. I wish I could have placed third.鈥

Begay said she earned a score of 97.7 out of 100 points, so she was only .3 points away from finishing in third and earning a bronze medal. Her presentation focused on her painted design, which depicted hot-air balloons taking flight over the red rocks in the Churchrock area easy of Gallup at sunset 鈥 all set within the outline of a Route 66 sign.

Moreno was also close to earning bronze in his category with 96 points. For his presentation, Moreno demonstrated his skill with nunchaku technique, which is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon form.

鈥淭his was the first time I did Skills in eight years,鈥 he said. 鈥淩anking fourth after eight years is not too bad.鈥

The SkillsUSA Gallup Chapter advisors, on the other hand, were much more impressed with their students鈥 results.

鈥淭hese are the highest places we鈥檝e ever had, and to have two students place this high, it鈥檚 very exciting,鈥 advisor Ann Jarvis said.

鈥淚 know (Begay鈥檚) disappointed, but it鈥檚 just amazing,鈥 advisor Frank Sanchez added. 鈥淚 talked to the judges afterward and hers was one of the most memorable presentations.鈥

Part of the community

The two main things that Sanchez credited for helping Begay and Moreno to perform so well at nationals were practice and community support.

The students got opportunities to perform their skills and presentations in front of the local Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, plus employees at Amigo Automotive. They also did presentations at 榴梿视频allup鈥檚 Zollinger Library and other 榴梿视频allup staff events.

鈥淟ast year was our first year at nationals, but we never felt like our students were out of their element or out of their depth,鈥 Sanchez said. 鈥淲hen we got back, we talked about getting the students in front of as many groups as we can to get them practice sessions.鈥

Jarvis noted that community members talked to students after their practice presentations to ask questions or give comments to help them make improvements.

For example, one person highlighted the fact that New 榴梿视频 is the only state with an official state aroma, which is roasting green chile. Begay highlighted that detail during her presentation by bringing a green chile scented candle with her to Atlanta.

鈥淚t helped me engage with the judges because they wanted to know what green chile smelled like,鈥 Begay said.

SkillsUSA pins

The 2023 Oklahoma SkillsUSA pin, which is seen among a collection of pins obtained by Kayliegh Begay during the during the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, won first place in the high school Pin Design contest at nationals.

Moreno said his presentation was largely the same from the beginning, but the feedback from the community helped him hone his presentation about 20 percent. Sanchez said it was that extra 20 percent that carried him to fourth place.

Jarvis said she appreciated all of the community help. She even called people soon after learning about the students鈥 results to share the news.

鈥淚t鈥檚 not just the 榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter,鈥 she said. 鈥淲e鈥檙e part of the community up here, and our students are part of not only the 榴梿视频 community but the greater Gallup community.鈥

鈥淚 think what I am really excited about is that the community now knows and has an idea of SkillsUSA,鈥 Sanchez added. 鈥淲e know what a powerful resource it can be for this community. If we had more students involved in SkillsUSA 鈥 whether they win or not 鈥 what they develop as far as job skills is invaluable.鈥

Benefits of SkillsUSA

Begay and Moreno both credited their SkillsUSA experiences for helping to boost their confidence.

Begay said she鈥檚 still figuring out her higher education plans. She plans to transfer to UNM in Albuquerque for the Fall 2023 semester, but she鈥檚 deciding between pursuing a bachelor鈥檚 degree in either studio art or art education.

Either way, she said, she has found her passion for teaching people about New 榴梿视频 and interacting with people because of SkillsUSA. She said going to Atlanta was an eye-opening experience for her.

鈥淗earing someone say they see me as a future teacher helps me because I struggled with my academics as a kid,鈥 Begay said. 鈥淚 want to be able to go into my community and encourage them and tell them they can go further in life as long as you can put your mindset to it.鈥

Moreno said he knows the extra self confidence he gained from SkillsUSA will help him as a martial arts instructor.

鈥淚鈥檝e had teachers and administrators who cut you down, but SkillsUSA is different,鈥 he said. 鈥淵ou go out into the public and they critique you, but they build you up. You can represent not only Gallup, but the state of New 榴梿视频.鈥

Building camaraderie

Jarvis and Sanchez added that SkillsUSA also creates camaraderie and a family relationship among students because they travel and go through such a unique experience together while competing.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 why I鈥檓 coming back,鈥 Begay said. 鈥淚鈥檓 already planning for next year.鈥

Although Begay will be primarily taking classes in Albuquerque, she will be taking one more online class through the Gallup branch campus, so she will be able to compete on behalf of the 榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter again 鈥 but this time in the college level contest.

鈥淚鈥檓 getting first for pin design next year,鈥 she said.

Begay is also trying to recruit other students, including one of her younger sisters, to join SkillsUSA.

鈥淚 think Skills is a good opportunity for high schoolers,鈥 she said. 鈥淲hat you may experience on the job is something you would experience in Skills. If you鈥檙e having trouble socializing with other people or scared to talk in front of a group, this would be a good experience for you.鈥

榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter

Dewight Leupp, who graduated in May with an Associate of Arts in liberal arts, also performed well at the national competition, placing seventh in the college Job Interview category.

Overall, the 榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter took nine competitors to nationals plus three other students to assist their classmates.

The other six Gallup competitors were:

  • Brianna Begay, Aidan Brown and Orlan Dale, officers of the 榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter who competed as a group in the college Promotional Bulletin Board category.
  • Gualterio Beyal Jr., a Center for Career and Technical Education fire science technology student, who competed in the high school Firefighting category.
  • Judith Long, a CCTE Students Achieving New Directions student, who competed in the high school Job Interview category.
  • Jacob Betone, a CCTE fire science technology student, who competed in the high school Action Skills category.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association aimed at connecting students to employment by developing workplace skills, personal skills and job-specific skills. 榴梿视频allup formed its SkillsUSA Chapter in 2014.

To learn more about the 榴梿视频allup SkillsUSA Chapter and how to become a member, contact Ann Jarvis at aejarvis@unm.edu.

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