Downey ROP students bring home medals

DOWNEY - Warren High's Freddie Roberts impressed the judges at the recently concluded Student Recognition Competition held at the Los Angeles County Board of Education offices and took home the silver trophy in film and TV.Three students won bronze: Downey High's Ashley Guerra in virtual enterprise; Downey High's Sarah Lopez in professional dance; and Warren High's Craig Karli in commercial photography. The four DUSD ROP students took part a fortnight ago in the Student Recognition Competition conducted annually by the Los Angeles County Regional Occupational Program, along with a fifth contestant, Warren High's Britney Maxwell, who competed in animation. The field consisted of a total of 150 kids from 23-24 L.A. county school districts. Prior to the actual competitions, the five DUSD students, composed of four seniors and a junior, underwent intensive practice through mock interviews held at the ROP/CTE conference room. Due to budget constraints, participation was down this year to five, from fourteen-fifteen DUSD entrants last year. Utilizing a platoon system, administrators, principals and teachers took turns serving as members of the mock interview panel. Performance criteria covered with the participants were: a) initial impression (professional dress, confident greeting of guests, firm handshake); b) communication skills (consistent eye contact, volume, and clear voice; keeps audience engaged; uses language with precision-no redundancy or filler words); c) responses to questions (answers to include evidence/examples, answers should be directly related to questions, speaks clearly and to the point, responses should give evidence of reflection on one's own skills and work); c) presentation/work product (shares three or more highlights of their ROP experience, demonstrates purposeful connection to learning and career goals, explains reasons to be proud of their work, student can identify areas of growth and development in relation to education and ROP experience, articulates skills and knowledge as it relates to a job); and d) closing and follow-up (smile, verbal thank you offered, firm handshake and eye contact offered to each judge). To give them practice on these, the panel asked such questions as: "Tell me about one of your passions"; "Describe your three greatest strengths"; "Describe one of your most unique or interesting experiences in your ROP class"; "How has your ROP class made a difference in your life?"; and "Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?" One of the 'judges', WHS principal John Harris, made it a point to emphasize to one of the students, "Pay attention to the position of your hands in gesturing. And don't be nervous: maintain eye contact with your interviewer. You are supposed to be in control of the interview, not them." Lots of other constructive critiques and suggestions from the panelists: "Avoid unnecessary/ vague verbiage such as 'you know', 'some thing', as well as 'sharpen your choice of words.' Roberts, the silver winner, gave a moving testimony about his class' (film & TV) impact on him: "I actually took multiple ROP classes. This gave me lots of choices, and did me good: my grades shot up and I got straight A's where I got C's and B's and F's before. This made my parents proud of me. I now realize you have to work hard to get what you want. Film affords a lot of variety and creativity. No one day is the same." Karli is actually visually impaired but after he delivered a polished presentation of his photo shoots "through my eyes," the praise was unanimous: "You did a good job. That was an excellent presentation." DUSD's ROP/CTE program is supervised by Support Programs, Career & Technical Education director Phil Davis.

********** Published: April 9, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 51