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Students compete in job skills
Hughson High wins small schools competition
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Ceres High School student Megan McCormick presents her investigation findings to Modesto Police Detective Sean Dodge during last weeks annual Occupational Olympics.

Hughson High School claimed the "small school overall award" during the 30th annual Stanislaus County Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition held Wednesday, March 25 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock.

Ranging from floriculture to firefighting, students spent the day engaged in contests to test their field of knowledge. Approximately 750 students from Stanislaus County high schools participated in 22 competitive events.

Central Valley, Ceres and Whitmore Charter high schools sent students to the daylong competitive event who also were able to quiz 57 business/industry representatives who exhibited and spoke during the Career Expo. Ceres students participated in Robotics Technology, Criminal Justice and Floriculture competitions.

Turlock High School received the large school honors.

Students were rated on knowledge of their field of interest, ability to perform tasks using appropriate tools, and employability skills. Representatives from local business and industry judged students in competitive events including, agricultural engineering, automotive technology, criminal justice, fashion design, firefighter candidate, job seeking skills, marketing mathematics, robotics, retail selling, and welding. Plaques were awarded to the top three participants in each event, and the top eight finalists received ribbons.

Students from Hughson and Ceres who won gold medals in their respective competitions included:

- Colton Young (Hughson High), first place, Agricultural Equipment Technology;

-Trent Snyder (Hughson), second place, Agricultural Equipment Technology;

-Jeffrey Gaylord (Hughson), third place, Agricultural Equipment Technology;

-Peter Jose Rodriguez (Whitmore Charter), third place, Criminal Justice;

-Vincent Avila Central Valley (Central Valley), third place, Floriculture;

-Ivy Shackleford (Hughson), third place, Hairstyling;

- Leah Rawe (Hughson), first place, Introduction to Business Applications;

- Amanda Cockrell (Hughson), third place, Job Seeking Skills;

- Mark Borges (Hughson), first place, Portfolio Review;

- Aaron Lengel and Austin Thiry (Central Valley), second place, Robotics Technology;

- Marco Nunez and Isai Anguiano (Ceres), third place, Robotics Technology;

- Hosmar Martinez Avila (Hughson), third place, Small Engine Repair;

Central Valley High FFA adviser and ag teacher Brian Mortensen helped oversee the floriculture competition, which involved six students from his school.

"I brought six kids and three of them made it to the top 20," said Mortensen.

Floriculture students competed against one another to correctly identify 25 house plant varieties, 25 cut flowers and 25 tools of the trade. They also had to evaluate arrangements in order of marketability, from best to worst; as well as judge the quality of house plant and potted plants. The end of the competition included corsage making using flowers, wire, tape and hot glue - in 30 minutes or less.

The same team competed recently in Lathrop and placed eighth out of 19 teams.

This marked the 21st year that Ceres High School dispatched a team to compete in the Law Enforcement Investigation competition. Law enforcement teacher Randy Cerny said that 10 students enrolled in criminal justice classes at CHS competed in Turlock among 27 students from throughout the county.

Students played the role of an officer to investigate a mythical crime. After interviewing the "victim," competitors questioned two witnesses, taking down suspect and vehicle information, writing a written narrative of their findings and presenting their findings with two actual prosecutors from the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office. Deputy district attorneys then quizzed the students about their findings to determine if a warrant can be filed. Both critiqued students on their thoroughness and accuracy, ability to clearly and concisely synopsize an incident; check for sufficient details; and judged overall appearance, confidence and presence.

A team of 12 CHS students served as security on the campus and had a direct line to supervisors.