WASILLA — About 50 dedicated Mat-Su Career and Technical High School students and their advisers attended the state competitions for Career and Technical Student Organizations March 20-22 at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage.

To qualify for the state contest, students placed at the regional level in their chosen pathway — Health Occupations Students of America, SkillsUSA or Business Professionals of America — and decided they had what it took to compete at the state level.

Business Professionals of America members competed in a wide range of events: financial services, business administration, management information systems, digital communication and design and management, marketing and communication resources. The 30 members in attendance earned almost 100 awards in 33 categories. Of those, 20 were first-place and 48 were top-three finishes. Proving they genuinely know what they’re doing, some are even planning to go all the way and compete at the national level.

SkillsUSA members come from the Culinary and Tourism pathway and the Building pathway. This meant that students competed in events varying from culinary arts and food and beverage service to construction, technical drafting, technical math, automotive service technology, video production, quiz bowl and various employability skills: job interview, job skill demonstration and speeches. Only 13 members attended, but they were still able to attain 11 top-three finishes.

Health occupations students, as part of one of the largest growing career fields, showed they are taking their careers seriously. Of 19 events, CTHS health occupations students placed in seven: creative problem solving, extemporaneous writing, medical photography, nursing assistant, prepared speaking, veterinary science and medical terminology. Of the awards, 12 were in the top three and three were first place. For such a limited number of events, the results were impressive.

These students not only worked hard to earn their achievements, they also took time to enjoy themselves.

BPA member Chris Bailey said, “The state CTSO conference is a magical place filled with food, professionalism and friends.”

These results prove that Mat-Su Career and Technical High School truly lives up to its name. Since the school opened in 2007, students have demonstrated the level of skill they have achieved in their various career and technical classes. As Career Tech continues to grow, more students will become interested in what career and technical student organizations have to offer. This, in turn, will continue this school’s legacy as a leader in career and technical education, and provide our community with a bright and healthy future.

Anita Laulainen is a senior at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School.

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