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LHHS SkillsUSA students bring home the state medals

Forty-five Lake Havasu High School students and four advisors recently traveled to Phoenix to compete in the SkillsUSA Arizona Championships. Talented and well trained, the students gave it their best. When it was done, they had broken the LHHS school record for SkillsUSA medals received at a state competition. Three of them will now be going to the SkillsUSA national championship in June. Remember, your tax credit dollars help support the LHHS SkillsUSA program.

Gold medal winner Jake works on a home design.
Taylor working at his computer. He won the gold in CAD architecture.

SkillsUSA is a national CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) that challenges students in competitions ranging from Automotives to Drafting, Audiovisual to Web Design, and also challenges the ability of the student to properly apply and interview for a job. Lake Havasu High School has been a part of SkillsUSA since 1977. This year was different, however, as it was a record year for LHHS, coming away with the most medals at state since its inception, earning 14 out of a possible 21 medals. Lake Havasu students earned medals in every competition they entered.

The Lake Havasu Drafting program, advised by teacher Brian Aranguena, continued their domination of the drafting competition by capturing sweeps in both the Board Architecture and Home Design events. These two competitions have been swept by Aranguena’s students for the past six years. This year’s Home Design winners are: Brandon and Jaren (bronze), Garrett and Jeff (silver), and Pedro and Jake (gold). Board Architecture winners were Ryan (bronze), Dan (silver), and Delanie (gold).

Gold medal winner Jake works on a home design.
Jake works on a home design. He and Pedro won the gold.

Group picture of Home Design winners. »
Group picture of Board Architecture winners. »

CAD Architecture, a nationally qualifying competition, is a two-day event. Students attend a briefing and take a 125 question written test the first day and then endure a rigorous, seven-hour drawing portion the second day where they are required to produce multiple drawings per the mock client’s request. Then, in mid competition, the contest chair will add changes to the client’s request to mimic real-life client indecision. Lake Havasu repeated last year’s gold with Taylor earning his second successive trip to the SkillsUSA National Championships in Kansas City, Missouri. According to Taylor, “CAD Architecture is one of the most challenging competitions at the state level; it forces the competitors to work outside their comfort zone by challenging them to do work that normally would require much more time and planning.” Taylor placed 16th in the nation last year and hopes to build on his experience and better his place at nationals this year.

Picture of Taylor at work. »

Gold medal winners Alex and Kayla work on their website.
Alex (left) and Kayla work on their gold medal winning web site design.

Lake Havasu High School’s Web Design program was created two years ago by instructor Steven Paluch. During last year’s inaugural season, students Alex and Kayla won a 3rd place medal. The web design contest this year consisted of a demanding seven-hour challenge to take unfamiliar web site data plus stock images and create an accessible and well-coded site. Alex and Kayla bettered last year’s performance by winning 1st in the state while newcomers Shay and Cody earned their first state medals with a 2nd place finish. Alex and Kayla will be joining Taylor this summer in Kansas City to compete against the best in the nation.

“I am so excited that Kayla and I were able to improve on our web design skills and knowledge. I can’t wait to compete at nationals for my state and to experience what the national contest has to offer,” stated Alex.

“Doing so well at regionals and state competition gives me hope for a future in graphic communication and web design. Earning these distinctions holds greater importance for me as I assured my late grandfather I would succeed, and I did!”cheered Kayla.

Screenshot of the winning web page designs. »

Not to be outdone, instructor Brian Steele’s automotive students came away with even more medals for LHHS. The automotive contest at state consisted of a written test, parts identification, and various other challenges that included examining cars to determine what is wrong. Adding to his 2nd place medal at regionals, Chris captured gold, and Jeff earned silver for his first SkillsUSA medal.

Gold medal winner Chris works on an automotive problem.
Chris working towards his gold medal in basic automotive technology.

Picture of Automotive winners. »

LHHS had Curt Mhyre, the TV Production teacher, enter a team of four in the TV News Anchor competition. Two students serve as the news anchor team, the third student performs as the team's director/technical director, while the fourth handles floor director duties. Each team writes, produces, and completes a three-minute newscast as if it were live. The team of Michael, Kyle, Ashley, and Isaac placed 3rd in the state competition against over twenty teams.

The last triumph for Lake Havasu was in the Job Interview competition. Divided into three phases, the competition consists of completing an employment application, preliminary interviews with a receptionist, and in-depth interviews. Over eighty contestants were evaluated on their understanding of interview procedures for job and college interviews. Lacy, Kayla, and Dan were three of the five contestants who earned a second interview. Gold was earned by Kayla, and Dan earned the Bronze. Job Interview is a nationally qualifying contest; however, Kayla cannot compete in two contests (she prefers to compete in web design at nationals), so the 2nd place Job Interview winner will go to nationals.

If you see any of the SkillsUSA members, be sure to congratulate them because even though not everyone won a medal, all 45 competitors worked very hard and will take with them the memories and satisfaction of competing in SkillsUSA. Taylor, Alex, and Kayla will be traveling with their advisors to Kansas City from June 22–27 to compete against the best in the nation to represent our school, town, and state.

A special thanks needs to go to all of our tax credit donors whose support makes our participation in this competition possible. Thank you again, and good luck at nationals!

Thank you to Mr. Paluch for the story and to Mr. Aranguena for the pictures.