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    By Todd Martin

    From parliamentary procedures to planning a new restaurant and building a deer blind, Killeen ISD Career Center students brought back a variety of awards from Skills USA state competition this year.

    As the name implies, Skills USA covers a huge gamut of academic and career-focused competition. This year’s list of winners is long and varied.

    The highest honor this year may belong to junior Deandre Johnson, who earned a spot as a state officer in the organization.

    He competed among 80 students statewide for seven positions. Candidates tested on procedural knowledge, interviewed with multiple leaders, delivered a speech and campaigned and won peer votes.

    Brenda Drawdy, a Career Center teacher and chapter sponsor said you have to want it to achieve a state officer position.

    Johnson is now scheduled to attend the organization’s state and national conventions, where he will gain leadership skills and take advantage of networking opportunities this summer.

    “A lot of dedication to the organization” is what it means to earn an officer spot, Johnson said. “You have to take initiative in your career field. It shows you’re really serious.”

    He has taken courses in architectural design and travel and tourism and hotel management at the Career Center.

    In competition, eight local students earned first place at state for notebooks that documented their classroom learning.

    Those blue ribbons went to Akeem Cherizard, Paige Easley, Nathan Hevel, Jada Kieschnick, Jasmine Leach, Jon Pierre, Jayla Scott and Skylar Vanderberg.

    In restaurant entrepreneurship, Tashia Newman, Patrick Purifoy and Naremys Vega won first-place ribbons. Second place went to Brandon Lewis.

    In photo panel Nathan Heval and Jada Kieschnick won third place honors.

    From the welding classes, Jett Curb and Nathan Price built a deer-hunting stand that won second place at state competition.

    From cosmetology classes, Tiana Flores won first place, Dea’Lexius Hicks-Jones and Rylie Rudd won second place and Noah Williams and Giselle Schaible and Tiana Flores won third place in state competition.

    Cherizard, a senior and student in Drawdy’s tourism and hospitality course, said the individual notebooks that won eight blue ribbons represented a semester worth of work.

    “It’s a notebook that showcases what we did,” he said. “That’s a lot of people to win at state competition. It’s humbling to think our work was at such a high caliber. It shows that Mrs. Drawdy knows what she’s doing.”

    Newman, a senior, won a first-place ribbon in restaurant entrepreneurship. She showed a notebook detailing plans for an eatery she called “Burgers and Cones.” It included logo, menu, help-wanted advertisements, promotional material, a music play list, timesheet schedule and other documents.

    Sophomore Jett Curb and senior Nathan Price, welding students at the Career Center, said they won their second place state prize in general welding against more than 40 projects.

    The pair did the measurement, welded the frame and painted the 12-foot-high stand.

    Senior Tayaunus Winston served this year as a district officer in Skills USA. “It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve created bonds with friends I wouldn’t have known. I’ve learned more and become a better person.”

    April 20, 2017

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