SAN BENITO — Since her sophomore year of high school, placing in SkillsUSA’s national competition has always been a goal for Nayeli Ramirez.
She came close to reaching nationals her junior year, but ultimately fell short.
So, as she reached her last year of high school, she was determined more than ever to make her dream come true.
And with countless hours of determination, devotion and work, she was finally able to accomplish her goal alongside her teammates Noe Lopez III and Peter Martinez.
As a team, the three recent San Benito High School graduates competed at the 55th annual SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, late last month, where they were named 2019 Gold Medal National Champions.
About the competition
Nayeli, Noe and Peter were students in the Arts, A/V Technology and Communication Career Cluster in San Benito CISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Together they’ve been competing in the SkillsUSA Career Pathway Showcase contest since February, beginning with the SkillsUSA district-level competition.
In April, the team competed in the state competition and received a perfect score, which qualified them to compete at nationals.
In the competition, teams were required to select a specific issue and create a presentation about it that showcases skills they learned in the classroom.
Nayeli, Noe and Peter created a showcase revolving around spreading cyber security awareness that addresses cybercrimes such as phishing.
What sets them apart from the other competitors?
San Benito High School Principal Maria Isabel Marichalar-Solis said the team went to nationals with one goal in mind — winning.
“Taking first place at nationals for the AV production team is a tremendous accomplishment for Mr. Rodriguez and the students for their success,” Marichalar-Solis said. “As you can see, San Benito High School is not only preparing students for college, but also how to be career and workforce ready.”
CTE A/V Production Teacher Joel Rodriguez said he had a good feeling his students were going to place at nationals.
From rehearsing every moment they could to perfecting their editing skills, Rodriguez believes it’s the team’s strong unity and dedication that paved their path toward their success.
“I’m really proud of my students because even making it to nationals is a huge accomplishment,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t get a national team every year. You have to have a good team and some luck.”
According to Rodriguez, this is his second set of students that have won first place at nationals.
His first group won in 2017.
Nayeli said it was because of that team she became inspired to place at SkillsUSA’s national competition.
She hopes through her team’s accomplishments they will spark inspiration in San Benito High School’s next set of SkillsUSA competitors.
“I know SkillsUSA really brought out the best in me and I hope it can bring out the best in others because it truly is an amazing organization,” she said. “From the advisers to state directors and national officials, it’s a great organization and it really does help a lot in the future.”