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WHS pathway students sign pledge

Wasco High School hosted its first annual SkillsUSA National Signing Day, honoring 17 seniors who have trained in the skilled pathways of culinary, multimedia, public safety, construction or allied health and are continuing in those pathways after high school through additional college programs, internships and jobs. These seniors signed a pledge to continue in their pathways as adults and were given certificates celebrating their hard work and dedication.

The students are: Emma Brown, Evelyn Torres, Jorge Cabrera, Visleydy Martinez Osuna, Lizette Mendoza, Brayan Sanchez, Yahaira Ruiz, Alexander Gomez, Giselle Valencia, Aily Curiel Delgado, Bianca Rosette, Montserrat Villagomez, Ivy Gutierrez, Maria Arvizu, Marco Pimental, Andrea Duran and Jeremy Nunez.

"SkillsUSA is a student-led organization that fills the gap between what employers find in prospective employees and what they actually still need. Our WHS students have been training and earning college credits in the pathways offered here. They are being trained in skilled labor jobs that are in high demand," Chef Lora Peñaloza, culinary instructor, said.

"The event is significant because it is the first time that our Wasco SkillsUSA Chapter is joining seniors around the nation to pledge to continue in the skilled pathways after graduation through additional college programs, internships and jobs. We honor their hard work and dedication tonight by having them sign their letters of intent and present them with certificates."

She said signing the pledge is remarkable because many seniors don't know what they want to do with their lives. "Here we have seniors who not only are ready to join the workforce but are committed to a specific profession and already have years of on-the-job training experience."

Chef Lora also added that she is incredibly proud of the students' accomplishments and "their contributions to growing our chapter, which will benefit all of the incoming students."

She said the signing inspires the next generation of WHS SkillsUSA students. "It's inspirational because it shows that these classes are not just electives to take for fun; they provide training that can build their future careers."

Student Lizette Mendoza took the allied health pathway and signed the pledge to continue her studies in psychiatry at Bakersfield College to become a pediatric nurse. She said the WHS program prepared her "100%."

"They were positive and impacted me so much. They pushed me and didn't doubt me. They knew I could do it even if I were afraid. I'm grateful to experience their support and encouragement."

She said about the honor of signing the pledge, "I feel very emotional but very proud of my officers, my advisors, and everyone included in SkillsUSA and the board, especially. I'm happy I decided to pursue my journey in pathways."

When asked why she signed the pledge, she said, "It is the right path for me, and I think I will succeed."

SkillsUSA President Emma Brown signed the pledge to pursue nursing at California State University at Bakersfield.

She shared her experience in the SkillsUSA program at WHS: "I learned a lot. I became a leader. It made my high school years that much better, and it opened up a lot of opportunities."

She said signing the pledge to move forward with allied health is a turning point. "Because it shows my dedication to my future career."

As president, she has been able to become more involved with the school and community, which is one of the main focuses of the SkillsUSA program.

She said it was a privilege to be recognized for signing the pledge at the ceremony. "I've been in this program for three years, and I've watched it grow from only two pathways to five. It was also an honor to participate as the opening speaker and be with my friends and family who were here tonight."


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