HomeNewsKensington students advance to SkillsUSA nationals

Kensington students advance to SkillsUSA nationals

Kensington High School seniors Angela Ramos, Jean Rivas-Rodriguez and Sammy Canela will represent Pennsylvania at the national SkillsUSA competition in June in Atlanta. The trio captured first place at the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference. It is the first time a School District of Philadelphia school won the state competition.

More than 3,000 Career and Technical Education students throughout Pennsylvania competed in the state competition, which showcased their leadership and career development skills. Students, who all advanced through regional competitions, participated in individual and team contests of technical knowledge and know-how that covered diverse subjects from advertising design to welding and included world skills competitions.

Ramos, Rivas-Rodriguez and Canela are part of Kensington’s Computer Supports Systems Technology program, a CTE program that prepares students to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of professionals who use computer systems. The program was launched seven years ago, though this was the first time that Kensington competed at the district and state level.

“I am so incredibly proud of these students,” Kensington CTE adviser Shanelle Lockhart said. “Kensington isn’t a CTE school, rather a comprehensive school with three CTE programs. This puts us on the map. It’s a big deal and it means everything. I’m still in shock taking it all in.”

The students captured the first-place gold medal for the Career Pathway Showcase in the field of Business, Management and Technology. Students showcased their knowledge of their career pathway by presenting how it relates to the program they are part of and how they can obtain a career in IT. Ramos wants to be an Informatics Nurse Specialist. Rivas-Rodriguez wants to enter the military and then become a videogame designer. Canela wants to become a web designer.

“This recognition validates the work and dedication from our students and educators and shows how our schools are preparing students for success beyond our walls,” district CTE Executive Director Michelle Armstrong said. “This is a huge deal and shows the impact that these types of programs can have on students and school culture.”

Beyond earning industry certifications, students in the District’s CTE programs also gain additional career awareness, leadership opportunities and recognition through the Career Technical Student Organizations. These student organizations extend the classroom and provide students with the opportunity to apply their academics and skills to real-world experiences.

SkillsUSA is a national organization of students, teachers and industry representatives who work together to prepare students with the necessary skills to pursue careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education.

While Kensington was the only district school to place first at the state level, the district had several other schools with students qualifying for nationals in their respective organizations. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Learning Center and Kensington Health Science Academy also had students qualify for the SkillsUSA Nationals through PA HOSA, the state chapter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals. During the state competition, Lincoln students placed second and fourth, FLC had students place third and KHSA students placed third in their respective categories.

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