VICA contestants bring home state medals
Douglas High School students brought home two golds and a bronze from the State Skills Competition sponsored by VICA – Vocational Industrial Clubs of America – held in Las Vegas last month.
Career-oriented students get a head start from VICA, says Jennifer Riggs, who won a gold in the nursing assistant category.
Andrew Plemel won the gold in carpentry and Anthony Moreno won a bronze in job interview.
“If you ask how we feel about the competition, now,” Jennifer said, “I’m sure we would all say we are very happy and very proud.”
Jennifer said that for her, that the competition was nerve wracking. The nursing contest lasted eight hours, with a written test, a cardiopulmonary resuscitation test and a manual test – which consisted of the admission of a patient, taking vital signs, weight, height and clinical documentation and charting.
She competed against college students and was surprised to hear she won the gold medal.
“For me, it was like a dream,” she said. “I had no idea.”
Andrew said winning the gold medal meant a lot, not only just to know that he could win it, but also to show the school and the community what the VICA program at DHS is capable of achieving.
“The next issue for me, though,” Andrew said, “is to raise the money so that I can attend the national competition in Kansas City in June.”
He plans to get the community and businesses involved.
“I think the VICA competition was a great help to me,” he said, “because in time I want to become a licensed contractor, and this gave me a lot of experience in competition now and for later in life.”
VICA gives students who don’t plan to attend college a chance to test their skills and get experience in various careers, Andrew said.
For the competition, Andrew had to build a 4-foot by 8-foot miniature house with framing and four walls, a complete roof and two windows and a door. He had to complete the project is seven hours.
Anthony said that VICA helped him learn about competition in the real world and that VICA offers opportunities for students to earn scholarships from organizations and schools for continuing their career training beyond high school.
“If it were not for my instructors James Archdekin and Wayne Moore, there is absolutely no way I would have been able to thoroughly enjoy the VICA organization competition and everything else it has to offer,” Anthony said. “Because of this organization, I have a new idea of the competition that’s out there in the world. This has truly been a learning experience.”
The winners said other students in the DHS VICA program deserve credit for working hard, and they thanked their teachers for inspiration and assistance.
While the students were in Las Vegas, President Bill Clinton spoke to the carpenter’s union. The students were bused to hear the president speak.
Anyone interested in helping to support Andrew’s trip to the national VICA competition may call Archdekin or Moore at DHS, 782-5136.
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