DACC Students Bring Home Silver & Bronze from Nationals

Doña Ana Community College (DACC) students placed 2nd and 3rd in the nation at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Robyn Banegas was second in the nation with a silver medal in Computer Programming and Rion Osborne earned a third place bronze medal in Technical Computer Applications Students participated in events held in Louisville, KY last week.

The Conference is the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades. Quality career and technical education is the centerpiece of the conference. More than 19,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participate. The highlight of the conference is the SkillsUSA Championships with 103 hands-on skill and leadership competitions.

Twelve DACC students competed against other state winners in their respective technical areas of study. Other students participating were Turner Ashby in Electronics, Brendon Candelaria in Internet Working (high school level), Scott Caretto and Daniel Kerr in Cybersecurity, James Chambers in HVAC, Anthony Garretson in Job Skill Demonstration, Rodolfo Ruacho in Medical Terminology, Isaiah Silva in Information Technology Services, Shannon Smith in Internet Working, and Nancy Villalobos in Related Technical Math.  Simon Sanchez served as a voting delegate representing New Mexico in the House of Delegates.

Faculty coaches included Tim Chappell who coached Banegas and Fred Huff who coached Osborne. Other coaches included Leilani Benoit, John Carter, Luis Meza, and Edward Lopez.

“We are extremely proud of all of our DACC students who participated at the national level and represented New Mexico and DACC,” said Saundra Castillo, DACC Dean of Advanced Technology. “We are thrilled to have two national medalists. Next year we hope to have even more representatives and medalists at nationals. Also, congratulations to the instructors and staff who played a vital role in preparing our students for the competition.” Castillo added.

The national event featured representatives from career and technical education. According to the Skills USA website, “the philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.”