A SkillsUSA Retrospective 


Aleks Lam

Audio/Radio Production team and Mr. Bishop attend a mandatory meeting for SkillsUSA.

In the modern day and age, trade guilds as bargaining and lobbying entities have been replaced by worker’s unions. However, the coaching aspect of trade guilds still exists… in the form of CTSOs. CTSOs — Career and technical student organizations — fulfill the modern need that worker’s unions left empty. Unlike any sort of normal classroom, CTSOs aim to contextualize student skills. Not only do CTSOs apply student skills to a working environment, CTSOs take it a step further, and develop leadership and interpersonal skills.

SkillsUSA is one such CTSO. 

From April 13th to 15th, 25 Clark students competed in Ontario at the SkillsUSA statewide championships. 

The gold winners at the state level are as follows: 

In Advertising Design: junior Samantha Talbot

In Intro to Advertising Design: senior Stella Amarkarian

In Video News Production: Seniors Max Allen, Barrett Grayson and Juniors Reia Galang and Sahaar Khan 

The silver winners at the state level are as follows: 

In Advertising Design: junior Erina Vejiga 

In Audio/Radio Production: senior Aleks Lam and junior Jasper Maynes

In the Career Pathway Showcase – Industrial and Engineering Technology Cluster: seniors David Agekyan, Yuzuna Kudo, and Nathan Scherrer 

“It was my first time at SkillsUSA, and I was in the TV/Video production contest,” Sophomore Maya Chrystie said. “I think SkillsUSA definitely taught me things I would not have learned otherwise. I learned how to manage when your tripod stops working, and how to remain calm… when your camera battery is about to die but the nearly dead battery won’t come out.” 

Chrystie was paired up with a friend to make a promotional video for SkillsUSA. She spent the two days after receiving her prompt recording footage of the different activities at the center and interviewing students. “The biggest challenge was that my partner and I had some communication issues during the contest…but it all worked out in the end. It was [also] really hard to edit so quickly by myself, and I ended up staying up the entire night editing.” Chrystie, along with several other students, pulled an all-nighter to finish off her project. If Chrystie attends SkillsUSA again, she plans to restructure her work flow by “planning [out] her shots,” and focusing on “the narrative [she] wants to tell with them, rather than trying to get as many interviews as possible.” 

Junior and gold winner Sahaar Khan was another one of the students who stayed up through the night. “Having a whole hotel floor just filled with Clark students was extremely chaotic and fun — It really felt like one of my massive family vacations,” she said. “But some of the challenges were definitely time management. We could have scheduled our filming locations a bit better and finished paperwork at a later date.” Despite mistakes, Khan still felt that SkillsUSA “is most definitely worth it.” The competitions brought out Khan’s competitive nature, and she felt that “winning awards for [my work] makes it so redeeming and happy in general.” 

At the end of the day, SkillsUSA not only tested technical skills, but also forged a sense of camaraderie between contestants. “Yes, the judges were terrible,” Chrystie laughed, “and it felt like we all joined a cult… but I learned that I have people that will help me when I need help.”