NTU Students Bring Home 62 Medals from New Mexico SkillsUSA competition

NTU AwardCROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO – Sixty-two Navajo Technical University students, competing individually or in teams, took top honors at the NM SkillsUSA championships held in Albuquerque, NM on April 9-11, 2015. At the showcase of career and technical education students, NTU competed with other higher education institutions from across the state in hands-on trade, technical and leadership skills contests. The students worked against the clock and each other to validate their expertise in their chosen occupational areas, while representatives of business, industry and trade associations assisted with the contests.

Adriane Tenequer, president of the NM SkillsUSA post secondary student leadership, sported a broad smile as she helped hand out medals at the awards ceremony on April 11. To become president, the NTU Industrial Engineering major states, “I passed a panel interview and training at the national SkillsUSA competitions in Kansas City in 2014, and afterwards I was thrilled to be named president.” This year, Tenequer and Marell Charley, Early Childhood major, were both elected NM state officers, which makes them eligible for consideration for the position of president for next year. Tenequer, a gold medalist this year, was the first NTU student to serve as president at the state level. She states, “I’m a junior at NTU and after I graduate, I plan to start my own business in Crownpoint.”

Two-time gold medal winner Marell Charley plans to become a history teacher. She states, “From competing last year, I knew to bring all the materials I needed to plan my lesson and create everything on-the-spot to do my teaching demo, and sure enough I won again.”

Vernon Kaye, Digital Manufacturing major, stated, “I was on a two-man team that competed in the Additive Manufacturing event for which we used a 3-D printer to create an adaptor for a robot arm.” Kaye’s team, which won gold, also helped to introduce their event to the state competitions. Kaye stated, “I like SkillsUSA competition because you apply your learning from scratch.” He adds, “We were tested for our project, and I had to learn how to adapt to the tools I was provided, like a 3-D printer that was smaller than what I was used to, and I had to figure out how to downsize my product to fit.” Kaye, who expects to graduate in Spring 2016, states, “SkillsUSA stresses professionalism, right down to what you have to wear, so you have to step up in every way.”

In the Teamworks category, which involved building construction, Calvin Price, Energy Systems major, described how his event stretched over nearly two days. “On Wednesday, we met with the judges, reviewed the project plans, got interviewed, then on Thursday, we built from the plans from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Friday, we were judged,” he reports. Price, who is vice-president of the NTU Skills Chapter, said, “I worked on the plumbing part of the project, while my teammates each had their own parts to work on.” Price will graduate from NTU in May 2015 and continue at ASU where he has been accepted to study Sustainable Energy.

Tenequer, Charley, Kaye and Price, together with thirty-three total NTU gold medalists, will all travel to the national SkillsUSA competitions in Louisville, KY in June 2015. The students identified “networking, learning from others, and preparing to be challenged” as what they look forward to at the national level.  Kaye states, “NTU has one of the largest memberships in a SkillsUSA chapter.” Kaye adds, “There’s talk about getting Navajo Nation recognized as a ‘state,” among the other states that compete.  This would allow for Navajo Nation to hold its own round of competitions similar to what the NM SkillsUSA does.

Tenequer enthused, “A NTU student designed a special pin this year that includes the Navajo Nation seal, we will trade the pins with students from other states.” She adds, “I have learned so much from everyone connected with SkillsUSA, including the students, the chapter advisors and the judges.”

This year, President Tenequer was onstage when her NTU Skills Chapter advisor, Julie Bales, also a Communications instructor, won a bronze-level recognition for her role as a student advisor.

In the audience, the NTU group of over 70 individuals had plenty of opportunities to cheer and clap each time that one in their group walked the stage to receive a medal. Robert Witte, co-advisor for the NTU Skills Chapter and a Culinary Arts instructor proudly states, “The 2015 NTU Skills group is the best ever.”

Navajo Technical University medalists are:

Gold medalists:

Lisa Begay, Medical math

Virlencia Begay, Career pathways showcase team

Kurt Benally, Health occupations professional portfolio

Benjamin Bennett, Carpentry

Roderick Brown, Career pathways showcase

Olivia Gorman Brown, Medical terminology

Marell Charley, Early Childhood

Klayton Clark, Teamworks

Cyrus Coan, Teamworks

Bekki Curley, Prepared speech

Dexter Dale, Restaurant service

Levi Draper, Entrepreneurship

Lester Emerson,  Additive manufacturing demo team

D’Ayn DeGroat, Health Knowledge Bowl team

Sirius Eraicho, Job skill demo A

Jessica Greyeyes, Health Knowledge Bowl team

Jean Marie Holgate, Entrepreneurship

DeeAnna James, Career pathways showcase team

Lamont James, Computer maintenance

Cisco Jesus, Teamworks

Orlynda Jodie, Job interview

Brenda Joe, Customer service

Leandrea Johnson, Nurse assisting

Vernon Kaye, Additive manufacturing demo team

Vanessa Lee, First aid/CPR

Jenibah McGregor, Health Knowledge Bowl team

Rotasha Nez, Entrepreneurship

Calvin Price, Teamworks

Wade Shannah, Digital cinema team

Adrianne Tenequer, Job skill demo O

Shawn Tsosie, Digital cinema team

Tyler Williams, Entrepreneurship

Gwendolyn Yonnie, Health Knowledge Bowl team

Silver medalists:

Kristy Barry, Technical math

Matthew Bob, Medical math

Briana Chee, Extemporaneous speech

Nick Desiderio, Restaurant service

Sosette Devore, Teamworks

Vidal Freeland, Teamworks

Megan Greyeagle, Nurse Assisting

Jean Marie Holgate, Prepared speech

Donovan James, Masonry

Garrison Juan, Customer service

Nicole Juarez, Job skill demo O

Homer Keith, Teamworks

Darrick Lee, Electrical

Tanya Mailboy, Medical terminology

Michael Pinto, Teamworks

Tuff Ramone, Carpentry

Collins Woody, Cabinet making

Jeanean Yazzie, First aid/CPR

Bronze medalists:

Gilbert Benally, Prepared speech

Walter Cloud, Culinary arts

Megan Greyeagle, Nurse Assisting

Dewayne John Sr., Welding fabrication team

Renita Juan, Nurse Assisting

Hubert Lee, Welding fabrication team

Frank Peralta, Extemporaneous speech

Brittany Thomas, Job skill demo O

Andrew Wauneka, Welding fabrication team

Vynette Woody, Bronze

Colton Yoe, Masonry

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.  SkillsUSA chapters help students prepare for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations.


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