The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 13, 2014

GV students preparing for SkillsUSA

For the Star Beacon

ORWELL — The Grand Valley High School multimedia students are revving up for an upcoming Skills USA event this month.

Skills USA is a career tech student organization where students are able to interact with other students statewide. At the event, students compete in different categories pertaining to their area of study and interests. This competitive aspect adds a level of excitement to the prospect of showing off these students’ passions and talents.

The regional competition is Feb. 22 at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. Since this is the northeast Ohio regional competition, it will mostly be schools from around the area.

Nate Schick, the media instructor who debuted as a teacher at Grand Valley just last year, is enthusiastic about the upcoming Skills USA event.

“As a whole, Skills USA is a way to bring out what they learn in the classroom,” said Schick. “It’s about life lessons – deadlines, preparation and responsibility.”

Media students were selected to attend Skills USA based on their interest in participating and on their desire to pursue that field in the future. Those who expressed interest in careers in that specific category were given first opportunity.

Junior media student Amber Dimitroff is one of the three participants in the upcoming regional event. Dimitroff has been gathering information and rehearsing for her category, “Prepared Speech.”

“I'm anxious, but very excited about it,” said Dimitroff. “I’ve been practicing as much as I can. This speech has become my number one focus right now.”

For this category, Dimitroff will have to present her speech in front of a number of judges.

“I'm counting down the days until the event!” Dimitroff added with a grin.

Also to attend the event is fellow junior Dakota Adams, who is participating in the “Photography” competition. On the day of the event, Adams will be required to take a written test on photography in order to test her knowledge of the topic. Following this, Adams will be given a theme and a time limit during which she will conduct a photo shoot, taking photographs around the facility. From there, Adams will put her photos together in a compilation and submit them for judging.

"I'm not a very nervous person, but photography has never been a category Grand Valley has competed in before,” Adams said. “I just don't know what to expect."

However, Adams has diligently been preparing for the event. "I've been working on a pretest and taking pictures wherever I go,” she said. “I'll be using my own camera for the test, so that gives me a little bit of an advantage because I'll know exactly what I'm working with."

Junior Logan Morton also plans to participate in the regional Skills USA event. Morton is anticipating competing in “Job Skill Demonstration,” a category in which students are asked to demonstrate a particular skill they are studying. Specifically for Morton, he will be exhibiting his abilities to produce music using specialized software.

From the enthusiasm with which Schick speaks of Skills USA, it is apparent that he greatly looks forward to this competition. As this is Schick’s second year teaching at Grand Valley, he says he is definitely becoming more comfortable as a teacher there.

The statewide Skills USA Ohio championships will be held April 15-16 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.