Fourth Annual SkillsNATIVE competition showcases area student career talents

Tuba City High School construction student Clint Butler receives his contest medal from Miss Navajo Jonathea Tso at the SkillsNATIVE held in April at Pinon High School (Courtesy photo).

Tuba City High School construction student Clint Butler receives his contest medal from Miss Navajo Jonathea Tso at the SkillsNATIVE held in April at Pinon High School (Courtesy photo).

PINON, Ariz. - Over 100 students competed in the Fourth annual SkillsNATIVE 08 high school student skills competition held at Pinon High School. Students from 10 reservation high schools came prepared to be interviewed, take a content area knowledge test, and to complete a career area skills project. Once the contests began the skills contestants were on their own and could not receive help from their teachers or from bystanders.

Three schools participated in the Culinary Arts contest, where the students demonstrated their cooking talents by preparing julienne vegetable cuts, de-boning chicken, making chicken broth, and onion soup and fresh baked croutons. Teams from Ganado High School, Chinle High School, and Pinon High School showcased their students' culinary arts skills as they prepared the contest menu of Sautéed Chicken Breast with Sauce Chasseur, Rice Pilaf, and Sautéed Julienne Vegetables.

Judges Nephi Craig and Dave Shultz scored the students on mise en place ("everything in place") as they watched the students demonstrate their cooking talents. At the contest ended, the students "plated" their finished dish in an attractive artistic gourmet display for final judging.

"I'm proud of the student participants that are working toward having a career and life long skills. We tell our students - the four stirring sticks are used against poverty and hunger. The same is true of education. Knowledge students gain from schools helps protect our future generations against poverty and hunger," said Miss Navajo Jonathea Tso, after watching the Culinary Arts students prepare their dishes for display.

Culinary Arts was just one of the career skills areas in which students were able to compete. Other contests were held in welding, board drafting, Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), graphic arts, job skills demo, job interview, construction, and nurse assistant.

As students in the contest areas focused on doing their best, it was easy to see their enthusiasm and skill talents shine as their projects took shape.

Construction contestants were looking for the straightest two-by-fours, so that their demo walls would be square and strong. Eighteen students showed their construction talents as they concentrated on finishing their projects in the four-hour timeframe.

Sparks were flying in the welding competition while students from different schools measured, cut and welded as they read the contest project directions.

An award ceremony recognized the first, second and third place students in each area. Contest polo shirts with the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education (NATIVE) District logo and site school names were given to each student. These were donated by BNI Solutions, a network provider. Klein Education Services provided gift cards to the Job Interview high point scorers. In addition to the leather welding gloves and safety glasses given to every welding contestant, Four Corners Welding provided judges, participant awards, and gift certificates to the award winners. The College of Eastern Utah provided judges and scholarships for the Nursing Assistant contest. Certiport provided scholarships for their software training programs to three contest areas.

Trophies were awarded to Chinle High School for highest points earned by a school, Monument Valley High School took second place and the third place school award went to Ganado High School.

Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education School District is a state funded Joint Vocational School District offering quality state approved high school vocational classes. Eight high school sites are now part of N.A.T.I.V.E. District: Kayenta Unified School District (USD), Red Mesa USD, Chinle USD, Pinon USD, Ganado USD, Window Rock USD, Sanders USD, and Tuba City USD.

The NATIVE Governing Board Members include President Ambrose Shepherd (Ganado), Vice President Marie Allen (Window Rock), Bahe Billy (Chinle), Lavina Smith (Kayenta), Shannon Tooke (Tuba City), Mary Tom (Pinon), Wallace Todacheeny (Red Mesa), and Margaret Yazzie (Sanders) and Karen Lesher as Superintendent.

NATIVE District CTE Coordinator, Frankie J. Gilmore, provided SkillsNATIVE 08 organization and oversight.

School sites and students are already looking forward to SkillsNATIVE 09. The contests help prepare students for the state and national championships as they work towards careers. Now having completed its fourth year, SkillsNATIVE provides a showcase for students to do their best and be prepared for an enriched life with career/college opportunities.

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