KAYENTA -- Over the buzz of electric saws cutting two by fours for the wall construction skills test came the clatter of excitement as student contestants eagerly focused their attention for the second annual Skills NATIVE competition held on April 6.
Hosted by Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Skills NATIVE brought together nearly 200 student competitors and teachers from eight Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education (NATIVE) District high schools and from Rough Rock High School to show off their vocational skills. The competition allows students to meet other NATIVE District students, to prepare for state and national competitions, and to show what they have learned in class.
Frankie Gilmore, MVHS CTE Director, provided oversight and supervision at the Kayenta host facility for the 2006 Skills NATIVE.
"It was a lot of work, but well worth it for the students," Gilmore said.
NATIVE Governing Board President Margaret Yazzie, from Sanders, and Board Member from Ganado Ambrose Shepherd, assisted with the contests and presentation of awards. KTNN radio was on site for a remote broadcast of the event.
Students from Kayenta, Chinle, Red Mesa, Pinon, Rough Rock, Ganado, Sanders, Window Rock, and Tuba City demonstrated their skills during hands-on competitions in culinary arts, carpentry, welding, networking, job interview, job skills demo, business management, TV video production, board drafting, CADD drafting, and livestock animal judging.
High School CTE Directors facilitated the contests and brought in judges from industry and communities. In addition to medals, prizes were donated by supporting businesses, including Home Depot of Gallup, Computer Assets, Lincoln Welding, The CAD Store, and NE AZ Tech Prep Consortium.
"Having industry partners who support our students and are willing to commit prizes and judges make Skills NATIVE a success" said NATIVE District Superintendent Karen Lesher. "This event is characterized by students, industry, parents, community and school staff working together for a common goal."
Monument Valley HS FFA students, under the direction of their Ag instructor Clyde McBride, provided lunch, which included fajitas for participants, judges, teachers and community members
The Top Scoring School trophy went to Chinle High School for racking up the most points earned in various contests. Monument Valley High School nailed the runner-up trophy.
Student contestants in each area were judged on a job interview with resume, a written content area test and a three- to four-hour skills test demonstration.
Carpentry contestants showed their skills as they interpreted a design drawing to frame a wall with a door, window and steps. First place winner was Colin Begay from Rough Rock HS, second place was Darren Allison from Ganado HS and third place went to Michael Yazza of Window Rock HS.
Culinary Arts contestant teams were required to prepare, cook and present apricot mustard grilled pork tenderloin, with grilled summer veggies and cucumber-onion salad and desert consisting of grilled peaches with almond mousse. Students were judged on safety, preparation technique, and sanitation. First place team was Ganado HS students Kimberly Jones, Ryan Roanhorse and Travis Jones. Chinle HS Culinary Arts team Latasha James, Jeremy Norton, and Tanya Sam captured second place.
Board Drafting competitors were required to draw a floor plan and elevation as provided in the contestant instructions. Kyle Begay, Window Rock HS, earned first place; Lyle Woody, Valley HS, won second place; and Hershel Curtis, Valley HS, drew third place.
The CADD (Computer Aided Drafting Design) Drafting Contest used computers and CADD software to draw the required plans. Rylend James, Valley HS, won first place; Austin Shaw, Monument Valley HS, took second place; and Miles Connally, Valley HS, grabbed third place.
The Welding Contest required contenders to use their welding skills to follow design directions and complete welded projects following proper technique and the rules of safety. Ritchie Todecheene of Monument Valley HS captured first place; second place went to Jessie Lynch of Valley HS; and Nathaniel Toney, Rough Rock HS, won third place.
Video Production first place went to the team from Chinle HS: Riley Stevens, Justin Descheenie, and Kevin Tso.
Job Skills Demo first place --Randall Hosteen, Ganado HS; second place--Emacia Tsosie, Ganado HS; third place--Vanessa Morgan, Ganado HS.
Job Interview high score went to Christy Bitsoi, Chinle HS; second place to Jeremaiyah Grayeyes, Monument Valley HS; and third place to Roderick Begay, Valley HS.
Jermayne Yazzie, Chinle HS won Business plan first place; Traniel Gorman of Chinle HS second place.
Two Chinle HS students sewed up Merging Business Issues: Latisha Yazzie, first place and Natalie Jones second place.
The Networking Contest winners, all from Monument Valley HS, were Chris Vormittag (first), Latresa Walker (second), and Larson Singer (third).
The Livestock Judging first place team award went to Ty McBride, Emmanual Charley, and Denise Curley, from Monument Valley HS; second place to Duane Bitsilly, Brandon Jones and Brandon Kitseally from Red Mesa HS; and third place to Darius Begay and Shaun Sells from Chinle HS.
Individual Livestock judging awards went to Denise Curley, MVHS, for first Place; Ty McBride, MVHS, for second Place; and Brandon Jones from Red Mesa HS for third place.
Raymund Yazzie of the Red Mesa Ag Department and parents trailered in livestock for the contest, which included bulls, sheep and horses.
"2006 Skills NATIVE was a great event for our students and we look forward to seeing more students and community at next year's event," added Superintendent Lesher.
NATIVE Vocational School District was formed in 2003 and offers quality Arizona Department of Education approved high school vocational classes in partnership with its eight branch public school sites at Kayenta, Chinle, Red Mesa, Pinon, Ganado, Tuba City, Window Rock and Sanders.
Chinle High School first hosted Skills NATIVE in 2005. This competition gives students an opportunity to prepare for regional and state contests, to interact with students from regional high schools and reinforce what they have learned in class.
By combining efforts, teachers, resources and curriculum, NATIVE Joint Vocational District offers the students at its branch sites more vocational educational opportunities than any individual district alone. Together, with its satellite sites, NATIVE District can offer its students additional vocational programs of quality, including dual credit college level career classes.
NATIVE District sites are being connected virtually enabling curriculum sharing through interactive distance learning between sites. NATIVE District helps fill a need to train students for local, regional and national employment opportunities.
(NATIVE District submitted this story to the Navajo Hopi Observer.)