TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Preparation for students who compete in the NATIVE Skills competition, held in Chinle, Arizona this year, starts before the contest even begins with each student submitting a cover letter and job application with a formal resume.
The NATIVE Skills is the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education’s annual contest that brings the best students from seven high schools, including Tuba City High School, Chinle High School, Ganado High School, Kayenta High School, Red Mesa High School, Sanders High School and Window Rock High School.
The prizes for doing well in the competition include scholarship money, opportunities to get into a trade institution with full tuition or other prizes.
Students from Tuba City High School come home with top prizes this year for job skills, shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), and gas metal arc welding (GMAW), digital photography, automotive and carpentry.
Along with these areas of study, nursing, drafting, culinary arts and masonry are also part of the competition process.
Tuba City High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Woody Begay said the school is proud of its students. He said the school’s CTE staff work with each student all year before the contest to get them ready for the contest. Begay said students in each of the program areas did very well this year.
“This staff mentoring helps support and prepare each student for their individual contest area,” he said. “It was really a great overall win with so many first place winners and also our grand champion welder, Danielle Lopez, taking home the $8,000 tuition grand prize.”
Begay noted that not every student at Tuba City High School wants to go to a university or college, but that many do want to have professional training and job skills in vocational or technical areas.
“This is a solid career choice for many who choose that path,” Begay said. “Our CTE staff recognizes that talent and giftedness comes in many kinds of career packages for our students and it’s our job to support and mentor their interests.”
Several other Tuba City High School students in varied CTE programs also came home from the Chinle competition winners in categories including automotive, job skills, digital photography, carpentry and welding.
In 1990, the Arizona State Legislature approved by statute that Arizona public schools could join together tto offer CTE state approved programs in their high schools.
Tuba City High School took the initiative, along with six other reservation area high schools to form 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 assist with getting their high school students ready 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 should they so choose.
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 chosen focused technical courses, Native helps give students a solid foundation they need to pursue the careers they would like to make their future living on. Partnerships with both universities and community colleges in Arizona and outside, allow students concurrent enrollment in dual credit classes during their high school career.
Jon Yazzie who is the NATIVE CTE Coordinator and NATIVE Skills contest planner, said the annual contest is aligned with various industry because of the hard work of contest facilitators and judges.
“This contest also opens doors for the Native students to pursue employment and important links to the post- secondary education institutions they need to get formal certification and degrees in their industry area,” Yazzie said.
Winners from Tuba City High School for 2017 are: grand prize welding GMAW Danielle Lopez, first place SMAW Samthony Parrish, first place digital photography Tia Folgheraiter, first place job skills (demo team) Kristina Blackhair and Glenice Pesodas, team first place carpentry Sheridan Lewis, Justin Deel and Norris Haskey and second place automotive Brett Nez and third place automotive Ty Engle.
More information about the CTE program at Tuba City High School is available by calling (928) 283-1051.