From the start Douglas High School sophomore Stella Rae Bradley and senior Brylee Venetten had limitations during the February Career Development Conference in Las Vegas. But as Bradley said in a speech at the competition, “overcoming limits is a step in reaching your goals.”
And overcome they did.
The Career Development Conference is a competition affiliated with the Jobs for American Graduates program designed to bring youth together statewide to compete, network and learn to enhance their futures.
Bradley who is the sophomore class president for the Jobs for Nevada Graduates at Douglas and Venetten, the overall president, represented the high school at the competition.
Venetten competed in the entrepreneurship competition, filling in for a student who was unable to make the February conference.
“She stepped up not only as the president of the program, but as a courtesy to her classmate,” said Douglas High School’s J4NG Specialist Susan McDonald. “Even though she was just kind of thrown in, she presented it well.”
Bradley competed in public speaking as one of the only sophomores against mostly seniors on the topic of this year’s theme: “Road to success is always under construction.”
“Stella Rae knocked it out of the park, I didn’t have a single criticism for her,” said McDonald. “She spoke from her heart and made it real.”
In her speech, Bradley shared her experience in running track and how she would compare herself to the other runners, but eventually she learned that by limiting herself based on others’ progress was not going to help her improve her own.
“I always asked myself, will I ever get there?” She said. “We never stop progressing because our goals are ever going.”
Bradley said after reflecting on her speech, she did exactly what she said and set out to do by participating in the competition.
“Personally, I am really proud of myself,” said Bradley. “I thought I did very well and overcame it all by doing my best and that’s all I could have done.”
Attendees of the Career Development Conference took part in workshops, participated in employability skills competitions and had the opportunity to network with organizations at the college and career fair during the event.
“It was student led and was very well put together and professional,” said McDonald. “I was very impressed with everything from the opportunities that were given to the students all the way to our hotel room and the meals that were prepared, it was a wonderful experience.”
McDonald said it was also a learning experience.
“This was my first year as the J4NG specialist at the high school so though the girls did a fantastic job, this is the kind of thing that was a learning curve for all of us at a high speed,” she said.
Bradley was chosen by McDonald to participate in the competition.
“We worked closely in class and I thought she would be a good representative,” said McDonald. “She had good employability skills and has strong speaking strengths too.”
Bradley and Venetten qualified during the February conference to represent Douglas High School at the National Career Development Conference in April.
“I think we learned a lot from this competition and know where we need to improve to move forward,” said McDonald.