SkillsUSA Alumni News: October 2015

Alumni Masthead

Welcome, SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends!

Dara DuboisBy now, students and instructors have settled into the 2015-2016 school year. That is good news for alumni, because now is a prime time to seek out your local SkillsUSA chapters and get actively involved. Your passion for SkillsUSA can spread to new members. Share your experiences and knowledge with them, as they are likely planning lots of fall events. Your enthusiasm can make a difference at the local, region and state levels.

This marks my 27th year of involvement in SkillsUSA, and as I have told all the past state and national officers and others that I have worked with over the years, there is only one reason you don’t stay involved: choice. I hope that you will join in and help spread the message of what SkillsUSA has to offer.

Wishing you a great year, and I look forward to hearing from you. See us at: www.skillsusa.org/alumni. Thank you for all you do as members of SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends Association.

Dara Dubois, Executive Chair

National Conference Recap

Alumni at NLSCThe 51st SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) was held in Louisville, Ky., June 23-26. More than 15,000 students, teachers and business partners participated in the event. But, it is the alumni volunteers who are instrumental in the success of the conference. Hundreds of SkillsUSA alumni and friends volunteered to be judges, technical committee members, national education team members and much more during the week in Louisville.

The alumni executive board hosted several training sessions to generate new ideas for growth and networking opportunities for our alumni. Additionally, nearly 100 members attended an alumni networking reception, where they mingled with business and industry partners and executives. Cengage Learning sponsored the event, which was held at Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.

For the second time, the SkillsUSA alumni association coordinated and hosted the community service event held on Friday, June 26, as part of the national conference. More than 550 students and teachers volunteered their time to work with nine organizations at 11 different locations. Their goal was to help improve and make better the lives of those who live in the greater Louisville area. The event was sponsored by GOJO Industries.

SkillsUSA alumni help make it possible for thousands of students to showcase their skills and talents while at the national conference. Their selfless service doesn’t go without notice or appreciation.

AlumniAwardsAlumni Honorees

The SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends executive board congratulates two outstanding alumni members. Each received an award during the NLSC Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, June 23.

  • Sam Freshner, from Oregon, was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Member award for 2015
  • Jimmy Patronis, from Florida, was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Achievement award

To nominate yourself or someone else, go to the SkillsUSA website for details and forms.

SkillsUSA Alumna Cayla Lewis

Cayla LewisOne of the best experiences a teacher can have is seeing that moment when a student “gets it” and a light goes on for that student. A few years ago, Cayla Lewis walked into the graphic design program at Canadian Valley Tech Center in El Reno, Okla., with her light already on, but her involvement in SkillsUSA kept it on and going strong.

Cayla became an active member of SkillsUSA her first year at Canadian Valley, serving as a class officer. She became part of the local Chapter Business Procedure team, too. The team competed two years in a row, taking a gold medal at the Oklahoma state conference both times. She also earned a silver medal in the Advertising Design contest.

After completing her studies at Canadian Valley, she attended Oklahoma University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in printmaking and a minor in art history. She was accepted into the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications as a freshman scholarship recipient. Cayla gained valuable experience by completing several local internships. Upon graduation from the university, she went to work for the Plaza District as communications coordinator and designed the majority of its promotional graphics.

Cayla was one of 17 delegates selected to attend the Creativity World Forum (CWF) in Belgium. She now serves on the committee that will assist with events when CWF comes to Oklahoma City next year. Cayla is currently working for Downtown OKC Inc. as the community relations coordinator, as well as serving as co-chair for Momentum OKC, winning an award for Performance Art last year.

Her achievements so far can be summed up in Cayla’s own words: “Being active and involved outside the classroom with SkillsUSA has taught me time management along with the value of networking and working hard.”

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Winner

Harley Winner 2015Congratulations to Walter Ramsey of Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational-Technical High School in Upton, Mass., winner of the Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob raffle at this year’s NLSC. Special thanks to Harley-Davidson for donating the bike to benefit the Alumni and Friends Association.

Region Reports

Region 3 Update: Seth Strope, Illinois

Fall conferences are coming. Make sure to look for volunteer opportunities at your conferences. With the holidays approaching, consider planning a food drive or another volunteer opportunity that can engage the alumni members in your area. Be sure to share the pictures with us.

Region 4 Update: Terry Robinson, Oklahoma

Promotional and recruiting opportunities are coming up in our region.

Missouri’s Statewide Leadership Conference was Oct. 8-10 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Mo.

All the states in Region 4 reported that they had excellent state contests this year, with more alumni involvement as contest chairs, technical committee members and judges.

Texas college/postsecondary alumni held a successful membership drive at their contest this year.

Texas high-school alumni held a dance-and-dunk tank at their Night of Champions. They conducted a double fundraiser where they sold T-shirts and held a drawing for an iPad.

North Dakota sold T-shirts at their state contest to raise funds for their alumni association.

Minnesota had their first Summer Alumni Picnic with a great number of alumni in attendance.

Oklahoma furnished over 90 percent of the judges for the leadership contests at the Oklahoma State Conference. They also held a live auction that raised $1,500, providing six Summer Leadership Institute scholarships to students who submitted their requests. Oklahoma Alumni and Friends Association held their third annual Alumni Night at the Ballpark in Tulsa on Aug. 29 with an attendance of over 100 alumni and friends members.

Alumni and Friends Executive Board for 2015-16

Executive Chair: Dara Dubois, California

Region 1: Jim Rhodes, New York

Region 2: Glori Griner, Georgia

Region 3: Seth Strope, Illinois

Region 4: Terry Robinson, Oklahoma

Region 5: Robin Cronbaugh, Arizona

Executive Secretary: Anne Dew, Ohio

Karen Ward, Massachusetts State Director

Greg Rintala, Business and Industry Representative, Snap-On Tools