United as One

Perhaps one of the more secretive societies in our school, SkillsUSA, just had its members join a competition in the past month. Here’s a rundown of what happened, how we did, and the benefits of yourself joining SkillsUSA if you were on the fence about that.

First off, however, what is SkillsUSA? According to the organization’s website, “SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. We help each student excel.” Mr.Kalloo, the advisor of the SkillsUSA chapter here in our school, understands this well.

“Students when they join SkillsUSA; our goal is to make them world-class leaders in their workforce- in the specific trade area that they’re in,” Mr.Kalloo said. “We do this by encompassing the CTE training that’s here in Edison; we introduce competitions in those CTE areas, and we also give students the opportunity to take part in community service- to build their leadership skills.”

SkillsUSA doesn’t just prepare students for their specific trades areas, however. When Mr.Kalloo prepares students to excel, he wants them to excel in all areas. 

“In addition to community service, we also have career exploration because we sometimes know students don’t want to be in that specific shop class, so we give them outside looks into other industries as well,” Mr.Kalloo said. “And we do alot of career and financial management training, such as resume writing, cover letter workshops, effective speaking, professionalism training, things of that nature.”

With that being said, how did the competition go? Our school has a long history of doing very well in the SkillsUSA competitions, so Mr.Kalloo knew how good of a team we were. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a tiny bit concerned, however. 

“My biggest concern was that we started preparation (for the competition) later than usual. Because of the pandemic, we had travel restrictions on the city, which prevented us from attending any of (SkillsUSA) events,” Mr.Kalloo said, “So when they released … I think it was in February, when they released that we were able to travel, we switched gears and we started training. It was one of my biggest concerns, because I was missing about five months of training and preparation; but being the team that we are, we overcame and we did very well at the competition.”

As mentioned before, the school has had a long history of doing well in SkillsUSA competitions, and our members’ hard work ensured there was no different outcome this time. This year, a whopping 45 students from our school joined the fray to defend our prestigious record. And yes, many of our students are going to Atlanta, baby!

“We brought home 32 medals, 22 of them which were gold,” Mr.Kalloo said. “I just want everyone to know that despite the circumstances, if you put in the hard work, you’ll be able to overcome [any obstacles]. Hard work supersedes anything.”

You may have been wondering about the carousel that’s in the main lobby. That’s probably the most observable result of the competition! Brian Paray, Bryan Pirbaksh, and Aqeel Chowdhury were 3 of the members of SkillsUSA, and have all agreed to share some information on it.

“[One of] our competition[s] was to build something to represent our chapter of SkillsUSA here at Edison [our school].” Brian Paray said. “This year’s theme was united as one.”

For those who haven’t seen it yet, however, there are many small T.V displays that show all sorts of past events that our SkillsUSA members did together, cementing the concept that our chapter of SkillsUSA is truly “United As One.” As with all great competitions though, this one had its own obstacles, too. 

“First of all, we didn’t know how to start, so we had to come up with an idea or a plan on what to start off with.” Bryan Pirbaksh said. “We [decided to get] started on a base, and then from there… we just went up from there. However, I would say the base took the longest.”

A common sentiment from members of the prestigious organization that anyone can feel radiating from them is that they truly like being a part of it. The carousel project had no different effect on the team members part of it.

“Honestly, looking back at it … the end result of what we made, all the teachers that passed by it [thought] that we actually bought this [carousel], and it’s honestly rewarding…” Aqeel Chowdhury said. “After building this, I feel like … it makes me feel complete”.

As stated previously, SkillsUSA really wants students to excel. Sayemul Bashar, another member of SkillsUSA, has personally felt the impact that SkillsUSA wanted to give.

“SkillsUSA gave me the confidence that I needed to actually attend them [big events] because I wasn’t too sure what kind of opponent I may be facing.” Sayemul Bashar says. “Skills[USA] gave me the necessary resources -necessary information- that I needed to prepare for the competition, and honestly, it helps me kind of over prepare. That way I’m not slacking in any department.”

Anthony Peng

Hi, I’m Anthony Peng! I’m always curious for more knowledge and love to travel. When I’m not exploring the vast field of technology, you can probably find me watching tv shows or movies.