Clark takes on SkillsUSA


David Black

The two groups for Digital Cinema Production are content after their portion of the 2017 SkillsUSA competition.

Ani Sarkisyan, Staff Writer and Videographer

“I was really overwhelmed at first, but I was glad I went to the SkillsUSA contest for the first time,” said junior Trinity Sneed. “It was great seeing how many students were willing to compete and it was cool to know that I was one of them.” Sneed, along with 25 other Clark students, attended a field trip at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College for the SkillsUSA Leadership conference on Feb. 4.

According to the SkillsUSA website, SkillsUSA is a “partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.” The program runs annual competitions that begin at the regional level and continue on to the state and national level. Though the program has been running since 1965, this was Clark’s first year taking part in the competition.

Out of the 100 different skills categories that were in the competition, Clark students competed for Digital Cinema Production, Advertising Design, Automated Manufacturing Technology, and CNC Milling Specialist. Senior Sam Witt competed with partner Enrique Vazquez Jr. in the Digital Cinema Production contest. For their contest, they had to make a three- to four-minute short film related to the theme “Visions of Glory.”

“My experience was very rushed and last minute, but it all worked out in the end,” Witt said. Witt’s team scored 17th place out of 21 teams. Sneed and her partner also competed for the same skill. Out of the 30 schools competing for this skill, only Clark had five days to finish their film. “We found out the topic during the last week while everyone else had three weeks to complete it,” Vazquez said.

On the way to the contest, Clark students were on the same bus as Crescenta Valley High School’s students. CVHS has been competing in SkillsUSA for many years and has won several contests. Senior Nanor Asadourian said that it was nice to have Crescenta Valley’s support during the whole process. “They were nice enough to offer us their extra SkillsUSA sweaters when we got off of the bus,” Asadourian said.

Though Clark students from the Automated Manufacturing and Advertising Design contest were happy with the way the event took place, the two groups for Digital Cinema Production had a few issues along the way. Once the students were at the venue, they went into a small auditorium to get a list of what was required of them.

According to the three judges of the Digital Cinema Production branch, all competitors had to follow a  very specific dress code, which included wearing black pants, a white button-up shirt, black socks, and black leather shoes. For many of the competitors, this seemed practical, but for Clark’s teams, it was a shock. Clark’s students were not aware of the dress standard and were told that they would get 50 points deducted due to their lack of following the code.

Robotics and Engineering teacher David Black was frustrated about this rule and said that they were not allowed to mark competitors down due to their attire. “They have never deducted points for dress code during the regional contests before,” Black said. Though it is not clear whether they deducted points, Sneed’s Digital Cinema Production team got ninth place. Out of the 25 contestants that participated from Clark, 13 of them will be moving on to the state level competition which will take place in San Diego on April 20.

Cinematography teacher Matthew Stroup said that the competition turned out nicely, considering that it was Clark’s first time. “ Next year, we’re going to nationals,” said Stroup.