TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Tuba City High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Woody Begay smiled ear to ear with pride, happiness and deep satisfaction March 3 when Steven Charley, one of his students in Tuba City High School's welding program, took top honors this year at the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education annual Native Skills competition at Chinle High School.
Charley, who has been in the Tuba City High School welding program for the past couple of years, walked away with the grand prize $5,000 scholarship to the Tulsa Welding School in Oklahoma. He will start his welding career as soon as he graduates from Tuba City High School in May of this year.
This is the second year in a row that Charley has won the grand prize for his welding.
Several other Tuba City High School CTE students also came home from the Chinle competition as winners in categories including graphic arts, automotive, extemporaneous speaking, job skills and masonry.
In 1990, the Arizona State Legislature allowed Arizona public schools to join together to offer CTE state approved programs in their high schools. Tuba City High took the initiative along with six other reservation area high schools to form the NATIVE Joint Vocational District and those seven high schools together became satellite sites for Native to operate.
Currently there are 14 Joint Technological Education districts in the Arizona public school network that help high school students with career training before they graduate.
From culinary arts to welding, Native - CTE prepares students to enter a professional workforce immediately after high school or helps them transition to a community college or university.
Begay, who is an accomplished woodworker and graphic artist himself, was quick to recognize his staff as prime examples of hard work and serious discipline when it comes to starting a career. Begay pointed to welding teacher Ryan Goldtooth and automotive studies teacher Brent Engle as teaching mentors for his students.
"All the students did an awesome job representing Tuba City High School and their surrounding communities," Begay said. "These skills that they have learned will be used for a lifetime. It will take them places. I'm really just so proud of each and every single one of them."
Students from the seven school districts who participated in this annual Native Skills competition were from Chinle, Ganado, Kayenta, Pinon, Red Mesa, Tuba City, Sanders and Window Rock.
The vision for Native is that "while supporting cultural identity, Native will also provide high quality learning experiences to succeed in tomorrow's workforce."
Through specific technical courses, Native Skills helps give students the solid foundation they need to pursue future careers. Partnerships with both universities and community colleges in Arizona and beyond allow students concurrent enrollment in dual credit classes during their high school career.
Tuba City High School winners for 2016 are:
Grand Prize Welding SMAW: first place-Steven Charlee.
Welding GMAW: third place-Danielle Lopez.
Welding second place: Samthony Parrish and Nicolas Piestewa.
Masonry first place: Kyle Nockideneh.
Job Skills (Demo Team) first place-Kaylah Jackson and Bethany Haley
Job Skills (Demo) first place-Alexis Watchman.
Graphic Arts: Davin Pooyouma.
Extemporaneous Speaking: first place-Shane Moran.; second place-Aeneas Honahnie.
Digital Photography: first place-Tia Folgherater; second place-Clark Chee.
Automotive: second place-Daniel Dash; third Place-Brett Nez.
More information about CTE programs at Tuba City High School is available at (92) 283-1051.