Building Leaders of Tomorrow: Trojans Win Big at CTSO

Sasha Numazu-Fisher, Opinions and Blogs Editor

     From Feb. 26 to 27, various MHS club members participated in the 2020 Career and Technical Student Organizations competition held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The competition focused on the different areas of career and technical education, consisting of four divisions: Distributive Education Clubs of America DECA, SkillsUSA, Health Occupations Students of America HOSA and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America FCCLA. Each co-curricular club had their own individual tasks to complete and within each competition were several categories that the students could work to place in. 

     “The club is a place where students who want to learn about what they’re learning about in class can come together. Also they can network and get to know other business students, students that are like-minded or have similar interests, and then just build those relationships,” said DECA adviser and business teacher Malika Nahina. 

      For DECA, the competition involved a career performance-based assessment challenge that required the completion of a research paper and written online assessment prior to the event day. The second part of the competition required students to develop a solution to a problem proposed by businesses and organizations present at the competition. 

     “We’ve just been preparing over the last few months to actually do the second portion of the competition which is the actual roleplay. Students prepared during their breaks, before and after school, they sat down with an advisor, and worked through some sample roleplays that had been used previously,” said Nahina.

      DECA focuses on the business and marketing area of the CTSO competition. This year, Sophomores Rain Hashimoto and Elise Norris placed first in the travel and tourism event. Sophomores Annabelle Ink and Kirah Evile placed first in the finance category, and Senior Noesha Kabua placed second in entrepreneurship. Out of the 17 that participated, 12 had been recognized and five teams advanced. 

      “Favorite part of the competition. I don’t know, they’re all kind of stressful. I guess at the end, the luncheon is nice because everyone’s done with the stressful parts, really it’s just waiting to hear,” said Nahina, who had taught this program for two years.

     SkillsUSA trains their members in technical and skilled service occupations such as graphics, internetworking, robotics and video production. To be eligible for competition, students must currently attend a Career Technical Education course. Their event involved students participating and placing in mobile robotics, architectural drafting, advertising design, TV production, prepared speech, internet working and promotional bulletin board. 

      Seniors Jaelyn-Hope Aranaydo, Ryan Inouye and Boyd Hagihara placed first with their promotional bulletin board and Sophomore Noelle Shimabukuro had placed first in prepared speech for her second consecutive time. 

       “Our presentation was about our board, our experiences, challenges, reflections and how we portrayed this year’s theme which was ‘I’m Ready.’ Our board features an office and a person planning out for success on a whiteboard. Then we created a projector part that you could roll down and it shows all three of us in the future, having success by conquering the world,” said Aranaydo. 

       Seniors Brensen Manding, Joie Agoo and Sophomore Ethan Ibanez had placed second    in their respective categories: architectural drafting, advertising design and internet working. Juniors Jade Engstrom and Kamalu Chock-Nihi placed third in mobile robotics, Sophomores Caden Chang, Jenai Redoble and Nina Shaw placed third in promotional bulletin board and Seniors Lauren Bongco and Meagan Tamashiro placed third in the TV production category. 

       “As of right now, we are undecided if we can go to nationals just because of financial reasons. We are hoping to be able to fly out though because I know it will be such a good experience and we’ll be able to make new memories,” said Aranyado. 

     HOSA promotes learning in health professions as it is a club that delves deeper into health science related curriculum and exposes students to real life scenarios. This year, Senior Sonny Landingin Jr. placed first in nutrition, Juniors Cadie Young and Gracia Waite were a team that placed second in forensic science and Seniors Meilin Bucher and Raeson Okumura both individually placed third in medical terminology and clinical specialty.

     “I was honestly surprised that I placed first because I was not confident I studied enough. I was very happy and proud that I placed first place because that was my goal for this my last year in HOSA, I honestly swaggered to the stage to receive my medal. This reaction was very different from sophomore year; when I heard my name get called for first place I was yelling louder than the cheering from Mililani HOSA,” said Landingin Jr. 

      For Landingin Jr., the nutrition category that he participated in required a completion of a 100 question multiple choice knowledge test that was then followed by a tie-breaker essay that had to be finished in an hour and thirty minutes. He had been apart of HOSA for three consecutive years and had placed first once before in the category his sophomore year. 

      “My feelings prior to competition I was kind of stressed, because I did not study as much as I wanted to since this senior year was hectic and busy for me. The day of the competition I obviously felt the butterflies in my stomach, but then they slowly went away because I went into the competition thinking I’m going to try my best and that’s what matters,” said Landingin Jr.

      The FCCLA club had placed in three categories: Senior Quinn Goo received a gold medal in fashion design, Sophomore Miya Nishihira received a silver medal in event management and Seniors Keilyn Garo, Lexie Morris, Juniors Kelly Higa, Maria Bongiorno, Joshua Ishizaka and Zain Sasaki had all received a bronze medal in the baking and pastry category. The club itself focuses on using family and consumer sciences such as culinary, fashion design and more in order to address important personal work and societal issues. 

      “I felt proud we accomplished something. Our score wasn’t the best but it was our first time  so I’m excited to do it again,” said Bongiorno.

      The preparation and work each student and teacher put into the competition not only reflected in their awards but also in their relationships. Many advisers have potlucks during their student meetings and have dinner and share their worries with one another prior to the club’s competition.  

      “My favorite part was staying at the hotel and being able to get to know other people in the club. During preparation and everything, we really got to bond with other groups, other members of the club, and even the advisers,” said Aranaydo.

      The next step the clubs must now take depends on the students who decide to compete and further place in nationals. DECA club’s national competition is expected to be held from April 27 to May 3, in Nashville, Tenn.. The SkillsUSA competition will be on June 20 in Kentucky. HOSA club’s will be held in Houston, Texas during the summer and the FCCLA nationals will be held from July 5 to 9 in Washington D.C..