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SkillsUSA sponsors & supporters recognized

May 18, 2010

BY: Hayley Thomas

It was an evening for giving thanks as bronze, silver and gold-winning SkillsUSA high school students refilled glasses and served up hot meals during a dinner thanking local SkillsUSA sponsors, which commenced at the Culinary Arts Academy in Paso Robles last Thursday, May 13.

"We are recognizing the kids, but more importantly we are recognizing the sponsors, who have put about $40,000 toward SkillsUSA just this year alone," said SkillsUSA Chapter Advisor Randy Canaday. "We are real happy to have sponsors who are willing to come in and help the kids go to the three events we go to – the regional event, then the state event and the nationals."

During SkillsUSA competitions, high school students put real-world career skills to the test, and those skills vary from baking and childcare to construction, plumbing video production and more. At the national level, students compete in a whopping 90 skill categories.

In April, the Paso Robles SkillsUSA chapter competed at the state level, and 29 out of a total of 47 students received medals with 14 taking home the gold, said Canaday. Those 14 gold-medalists will travel to the nationals in Kansas City representing the state of California - a success shared by educators, parents, students and sponsors.

MyKayla Lamere, a sophomore at Paso Robles High School, said she competed in childcare at the state level, receiving a bronze medal for her efforts.

"For my competition, I had to create a lesson plan, pick things out and put it all together," said Lamere. "It was pretty difficult because we had to think up something on the spot."

City Councilmember Ed Steinbeck sang the program's praises during the dinner.

"I think SkillsUSA gives [students] a great alternative to kids at the high school age, especially to those who don't want to go on to a regular four-year college because it gives them a good stage to come out of high school with enough skills to get a job in one of these areas, whether it be in construction or any number of things they participate in," Steinbeck said. "It gives them a lot of confidence to go look for a job and know that they can really go do it."

Plaques thanking the sponsors for their contributions to SkillsUSA were given out to a myriad of local businesses and residents, including Estrella Associates, Ed Steinbeck/Re/Max Parkside Realtors, Ole and Sandy Viborg, Linda Janzen, Hastings Enterprises, former PRJUSD Superintendent Patrick Sayne, SA Recycling, Sam Luis Sports Therapy, Adelaida Electric, Hamon Overhead Door, Laundero Vineyard, Jay and Kathy Hall, Mike and Connie Ellison, Nick Gilman, Canaday Electric, Inc. Frank Mecham and Independent Electric Supply.