(HARLINGEN) – Steak, chicken and all of the trimmings were enjoyed and well-deserved by the 32 Texas State Technical College SkillsUSA state gold medal winners during the annual send-off luncheon.
The gold medalists are headed to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky from June 19-23 to compete among other students from across the United States, and the lunch is for good luck.
“On behalf of TSTC we wish you the best. We know you will all represent us well,” TSTC Provost Dr. Stella Garcia told the students.
SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.
Students in Skills USA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, building construction and culinary arts.
Luis Moya is one of the students competing at nationals. He set his foundation and earned his way to nationals brick by brick.
The 20-year-old won a gold medal back in March in masonry and will be competing in the same category at nationals.
“I’ve literally been practicing by laying brick,” he said. “It’s been a lot of evenings and weekends preparing but I’m excited and ready.”
This is Moya’s first time competing at nationals, but he is no stranger to the SkillsUSA world. He competed often in high school for building construction before pursuing it as a career at TSTC.
“All of my high school teachers told me TSTC was the best place in town to go for building construction,” said Moya. “And they were right. I’ve had so many opportunities here; going to Kentucky is my latest one. I’ve never been out of Texas.”
For many students like Moya, SkillsUSA opens the doors of travel and networking with professionals in the industry, which leads to career opportunities down the road.
All of the gold medalists were presented and honored during the send-off luncheon with certificates for their first-place win at the state level.
“Go for the gold,” Garcia encouraged. “But just know that no matter the outcome, TSTC is proud of you and you are champions in our eyes.”
With TSTC’s campuses in Waco and West Texas, there are a total of 76 students competing at the SkillsUSA national competition.