By Briana, age 17, New York
How many of you are members of Skills USA, or have ever heard someone say, "I'm a member of Skills USA"? What about Questar, aka, Vo-Tec or Boces?
Questar is a school that many people throughout the United States attend. They attend this school for half the day and then transfer to Questar Educational Center to learn the trade they would like to go to college for or graduate into that work field.
Questar often gets a label that the kids who go there need extra help or are going to be 'burnouts' and not attend college, or maybe drop out of high school. What it really is, however, is an extremely helpful, goal oriented school that prepares you for the real world. Many kids are offered scholarships or jobs right out of school, and enter college with up to 6 college credits.
Skills USA members attend Questar Vocational School and usually range between the ages of 15 and 18. They are often in their junior or senior year of high school. The group was founded in 1965 by a group of students and teachers who decided they wanted more leadership in their chosen fields of business.
The students' and teachers' cheer soon spread when they came up with a name for their group along with a motto. The name they chose was originally VICA, which stood for The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. This name lasted until September 4, 2004 when the organization's name officially changed to Skills USA. The motto has remained the same throughout the years though: "Champions at work, Leadership in Transition."
Many people read this but still don't really understand what Skills USA is all about. What I'd like to say to make it simple is that 'we help people as much as help better ourselves in the process.' The members often help the community by doing fun activities such as:
♥ Christmas caroling at retirement homes
♥ Collecting and delivering food to food pantries
♥ Celebrate Veterans Day by hosting a dinner for vets
♥ Organizing lunch-ins with the Easter Bunny for children
♥ and more!!
The members also do a lot of fundraising. The reason for this is because they travel to conferences a lot. There are Regional Competitions for one day every March for the students to compete in their job fields. For example, if you attend Questar for Culinary you might attend a type of cook-off.
The Skills group from each school usually sends two students from each class to the Regional Competitions. Whichever student performs best in his or her skill goes on to State Competitions. These are held in May over a 3 day period. You are then sent to Nationals if you win first place at your state competition. These are usually held at the end of June for about a week. Many students find it to be such an honor that they often skip their graduation to go.
The reason behind Skills USA is to better yourself in your chosen career field. Many people will tell you that the friends you meet and the teamwork you endure are life changing, and often override every other feeling of accomplishment you will ever experience.
For more information about Skills USA, be sure to visit their website skillsusa.org.