Kenai Peninsula College hosted the 10th annual Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Career and Technical Student Organizations Conference March 1. The conference theme this year was "Building America's Future Today," and high school students from all over the peninsula came prepared to compete with their peers.
According to Kenai Central High School student Wally Ward, president of the Skills USA: Vocational/Industrial Clubs of America (VICA), the CTSO conference serves as a forum for student club organizations to come together and hone skills for state competition.
This year the state competition will be April 1-3 at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel and coordinated by University of Alaska Anchorage's Community and Technical College. More than 500 students from throughout Alaska will compete and attend workshops to learn life skills.
According to the district's work cooperative coordinator, Walt Ward, this state competition is one of the best-kept secrets around. He points out that once students go through the regional and state competitions, they are much more prepared for "real life."
The CTSO serves as an umbrella for a variety of high school campus clubs. This year, four different clubs were represented at the conference -- the Family Career and Consumer Leaders of America, Business Professionals of America, Future Farmers of Alaska and Skills USA: VICA.
Each club specializes in preparing students for specific careers. Some areas covered by the clubs include vocational skills such as welding, construction and culinary arts. Others help students prepare for business professions and help refine job interview skills. Future Farmers of Alaska wants it known that the club is more than "cows and plows." It helps students prepare for jobs and offers many nonagricultural activities for its members.
At this year's conference, contests were held in welding, drafting, business math, construction, keyboarding, culinary arts, principles of technology, prepared speech, extemporaneous speech and job interviewing. A wide variety of respected community members served as judges in each of the contests, and the students involved took the competition seriously.
The contests allowed students to test their skills against students from schools throughout the district. The results helped students identify areas they still need to work on and gave them invaluable experience handling the stress of competition.
KPC congratulates the participants in the 2002 CTSO District Conference for a job well done. KPC encourages all high school students to consider the value of belonging to student clubs. What a great opportunity to interact with peers in a meaningful way, and it's a bonus to be able to list club affiliation on your resume.
Speaking of resumes, dust yours off and bring it up to date for the Peninsula Job and Career Fair at KPC March 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Employers can register for a free table (until Friday) by calling the Peninsula Job Center at 283-2900. There will be lots of opportunities, whether you are looking for a job or workers. Everyone is welcome, so don't miss this important community event.
This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.
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