DOWNEY - Nineteen students representing as many CTE (Career and Technical Education) courses offered at both Downey High and Warren High Schools were presented by director Phil Davis to the Board of Education members on Tuesday last week, with several of the students distinguishing themselves by winning golds and silvers and bronzes in the various regional and state competitions they entered.One Warren High Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering student in particular, Nicholas Pio, under teacher Glenn Yamasaki, outdid himself and emerged as the world champion outright by besting the competition from around the world. Pio was one of several contestants in the Dimension Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge which required the submission of a sound mechanical redesign of a product, along with a 200-word or more description and/or a 30-second video. Pio's winning redesign had to do with improving the testers used today to check the fuel in general aviation. CTE has been described as a partnership between the Downey Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Regional Occupational Program (ROP) in an effort to "bridge the gap between the world of work and education, and whose purpose is to provide students the opportunity to acquire skills that prepare them for successful continuing education or, alternatively, career entry and advancement." Yamasaki meanwhile describes Project Lead the Way as a "cutting-edge program that provides software, training and leadership development to both high schools' engineers on campus, and where students have an opportunity not only to learn from industry professionals, but have the opportunity to teach and instruct them as well." Project Lead the Way is supported by the increasingly successful three-way partnership among Warren High, the Downey school district and Cal Poly Pomona. Eleven gifted students representing their respective fields (film, construction technology, principles in education, technical math, photography, financial services, and health occupations) emerged from their regional and state Skills USA Championships competitions as state champions, and will represent the district at the National Championships to be held on June 24-27 at Kansas City. They are: Adam Alvarez and Jose Rojas (film, taught by teacher Andy Lundsberg); Arturo Robelledo (construction technology, taught by Kent Kiess); Metzly Milian (principles in education, taught by Frida Vadgama); James Ziegendein (technical math, taught by Jose de la Torre); Mayra Cardenas (photography, taught by Ronda Cordova); Felipe Salvatierra (financial services, taught by Coty Alvarez); Breana Moreno, Eda Nino, Jasmine Castillo, and Stephanie Montes (all in health occupations, taught by Leslee Davis). The Skills USA Championship is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation; it attempts to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs. It is estimated that 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event in Kansas City possible, involving nearly 6,000 contestants in 94 separate events. The other potentially winning CTE courses are: virtual enterprise, where students start and operate their own virtual business, as well as compete at trade shows in the state, taught by Allison Strain; graphics and animation, an especially promising ROP class created and formed by CTE to meet future demand for animators in a variety of fields in the business, entertainment and gaming industry (Bill Austin); professional dance, featuring beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes (Leslie Patterson); computer aided graphing/CAD (Jason Redfox, Downey High); commercial photography (George Redfox, Warren High); web design (Joe Curiel); construction technology at Downey High (Vince Appel); culinary arts (Therese Duffy); and quiz bowl (Alison Davis). The board responded in kind, heartily applauding every CTE participant, accompanied by their teachers. It was also announced that a 12-member team from Warren High is competing this Saturday in a solar boat competition to be held at Lake Skinner.
********** Published: May 17, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 05