Students Win Multiple Awards at CTSO Competition

McGwire Ishikawa, Reporter

From Feb. 25 to 27, club members of SkillsUSA, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) participated in the 2019 Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) Competition. This competition is a way for students to demonstrate their skills academically in whatever professional field they intend on pursuing.

    “The CTSO is where all of the industry clubs come together and we have all of our different competitions. It’s really to give students a chance to experience what those different competitions would be like if they actually worked in the industry. It’s a really good experience for them to gain real-world experience. For example, to see what it would be like to be an ad designer or for them to actually be a videographer with a prompt, or to actually be in a real job interview,” said SkillsUSA graphics adviser Carina Noveloso.

    In SkillsUSA, four members placed first, five placed second and three placed third. In DECA, two members placed first, two placed second and one placed third. In HOSA, two members placed second and three placed third. In FCCLA, three members placed first, one placed second and two got a blue ribbon award. Many of these individuals will move on to the national level of CTSO over the summer. “The fact that our students were able to earn top gold says a lot about their work ethic and focus. The team will be the first to tell you that they came a very, very long way since their first practice. It’s because of that growth that I am extremely proud of them,” said FCCLA adviser Brandon Hanagami. DECA Adviser Janise Kim added, “I’m happy, especially considering they’re all in their first time for them to go and to compete — and a lot of them, it’s the first time they went into a competition, cause they don’t do sports. So to me, I was really proud that they represented the school well.”

    All the clubs associated with competition had prepared for the upcoming events constantly throughout the school year. Some began preparations from the beginning of the current school year. Certain sections that required more work already began since spring of last year. “We meet every week and they train in class and outside of class after school. Because most of my competitions are speech based, we start by learning the general speech conventions and then we practice writing their speeches out and then we practice for two months straight,” said Noveloso. SkillsUSA mobile robotics, architectural drafting and technical math adviser Timothy Pregana added, “Basically, my students were working on Revit throughout the entire year and whatever was taught to them, they applied it to their competition. Mobile Robotics basically starts at the end of the competitive season prior in April when a new game is announced.”     

    Throughout the competition, based on their specific category, students were required to participate in hands-on, interactive and written tests. Many different ways to prepare them were set up accordingly based on the format of the assessment.  “First quarter, all my students in Directed Studies are to choose a HOSA event and I incorporate it as a project where they have to come up with an essential question related to a standard and five key points that they would be researching or studying for in their event,” said HOSA adviser Shirlen Tanaka. SkillsUSA graphics adviser Kara Adan added, “There’s that discussion and then the design portion and of course, construction, so there’s a lot of days where we had to put in many hours to finish it beforehand, so it’s a long project. It was a lot of practicing, a lot of extra hours put into whether it was creating the bulletin board or practicing for the Ad Design competition.”

    Time constraints and tight scheduling were a challenge for the participants of the event. Another challenge included the overall stress of being in a state-level competition. “I guess before, challenges are things such as time management or even having the students have the time to come in for practices, ‘cause they’re all really busy too. People are a part of sports teams, they’re in other clubs, they have schoolwork,” said Kim. “I think at the event, I think just nerves is the big obstacle. All those people that went to competition this year — all nine of them — it’s their first time. They never competed before in DECA, so that was something to overcome was the nerves.”

    The event as a whole gives students an experience of what it’s like to be in a highly competitive setting. The advisers hope to increase the amount of members and participants in their CTSO related clubs. “It’s a great program to provide our CTE students an opportunity to demonstrate their academic and technical skills. It’s a great thing, fun, helps students get scholarships to get into the college of their choices and I would highly recommend more students get involved. We’ve got a great program at this school — not just SkillsUSA; we got DECA and HOSA. All of our CTE teachers are doing a great job and our students truly shine at this,” said Pregana. SkillsUSA A+ and computer networking adviser Blaise Hanagami added, “We want to keep competing, but also, being a longtime member of SkillsUSA as a competitor, and now a mentor (and) judge, I really want to grow SkillsUSA much larger in terms of getting more schools to participate, so that there’s a diverse array of competitors from as many high schools as possible.”

    In the upcoming years, SkillsUSA, DECA, HOSA and FCCLA will continue to participate and compete in future CTSO competition events. Those who were eligible will participate at CTSO national competitions in locations ranging from Fla. to Ky.