TSTC, High Schools Prepare for SkillsUSA National Conference

(WACO, Texas) – Some high school students from Central and Southeast Texas spent Thursday and Friday at Texas State Technical College, where they worked with TSTC students to perfect their hands-on skills in preparation for a national contest.

The students from Belton High School and the Pasadena Independent School District’s Dr. Kirk Lewis Career & Technical High School in Houston, along with participating TSTC students, are gearing up to compete in the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference on June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The students won the right to compete nationally after winning gold medals at their respective  state-level contests earlier this spring.

Belton High School sent its four-person TeamWorks group to work alongside TSTC’s TeamWorks group in building mock structures with plumbing fixtures, electrical components, masonry and a mini-roof.

The electrician for TSTC’s TeamWorks group, Leonardo Mata of Fort Worth, said an added challenge to the two days was working with an alternate because a team member was unable to make the practices.

“It kind of made us see our differences, and we knew where to fill in the gaps,” Mata said.

This will be Mata’s first trip to the national competition. He said he looks forward to representing TSTC and showing others how talented the students are.

Students from TSTC and the Houston school also did a mock contest in preparation for SkillsUSA’s Carpentry competition.

On another part of campus, students from TSTC and the Houston school worked on their techniques to prepare for the Collision Repair Technology contest.

Alfredo Rodriguez, a senior at the Houston school, said he enjoyed using equipment he had not worked with before. One of the skills he learned from TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology faculty was nitrogen plastic welding.

Rodriguez said he hopes the knowledge he learned will give him an advantage over other students at the national conference.

“It should be an experience,” he said.

For more on SkillsUSA, go to skillsusa.org.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.