Students prep for SkillsUSA events

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Students are almost two months into the school year and organizational activity in the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical district is in full gear.

SkillsUSA serves students preparing for careers in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations.  The organization was formerly known as VICA and has more than 285,000 members. In Ohio, there are in excess of 33,500 students and teachers in SkillsUSA.

The group is active at both the Eastland and Fairfield campuses. At Fairfield, students just completed an $8,000 fundraiser in just two weeks. Profits from the sale of magazines, tapes, and CDs will help pay for student activities, competition registrations, awards, and SkillsUSA activities throughout the school year.

According to Fairfield Director Bonnie Hopkins, SkillsUSA members are also getting ready for their Regional Leadership Conference in November.

"Fairfield will be sending officer candidates, voting delegates, and our Leadership Team," said Hopkins during her Oct. 17 report to the district’s school board. "Officer candidates have taken a 25-question test and those who passed with 80 percent are eligible to be come candidates. Once they have been selected to run for office, they will campaign at the conference and also give a two-minute speech."

Three Ohio schools received CareerSafe vouchers sponsored by Lowe’s through SkillsUSA and the Fairfield Career Center and Robert Jones received 100 vouchers.

At the Eastland Center, SkillsUSA students elected Nehemiah Payne as president of the local organization; Ashlee Mason, vice president; Robyn McCoy, Secretary; Alphonzo Heglar, treasurer; Nathan Whitlach, ambassador; Kelci Grunkemeyer. Historian; Tonisha Henry, parliamentarian; and Jonte Word, representative.

Regional SkillsUSA competitions will be held at the career centers in March 2008. Eastland center Director Deb Stephenson also reported on students highlighted in a SkillsUSA Champions Report and noted Mason is the SkillsUSA Ohio treasurer, McCoy is the state organization’s reporter, and Payne is the national high school parliamentarian. Payne was also elected president of the center’s Diversity Club, which is in the process of recruiting new members.

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