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Ceres, Hughson students medal in career contests
TURLOCK - Ceres and Hughson high school students brought home medals from competing well in the 27th Annual Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition held on Wednesday at the county fairgrounds.

Approximately 700 Stanislaus County high school students from 12 schools converged on the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock to put their career and vocational knowhow to the test in 24 competitive events including agricultural engineering, automotive technology, criminal justice, job seeking skills, marketing mathematics, retail selling, robotics and welding.

In addition, 54 business/industry representatives exhibited and spoke to students during the Career Expo.

Hughson High School took the Small School Overall Award while Turlock High took the large school award.

Local winners were:

• Ryan MacDonald, Hughson High - second place, Accounting I.

• Lane Ichord, Hughson High - first place, Agricultural Equipment Technology.

• Monica Zambrano, Ceres High - first place, Criminal Justice.

• Adriana Olmedo, Ceres High - second place, Criminal Justice.

• Heather Taylor, Hughson High - first place, Job Seeking Skills.

• Maggie Gaylord, Hughson High - second place, Job Seeking Skills.

• Mayra Casillas Ruezga, Hughson High - third place, Job Seeking Skills; third place in Portfolio Review.

• Brad Borges, Hughson High - first place, Portfolio Review.

• Central Valley High School team of Sargon Hermiz, Euris Mazorra, Eric Munoz and Cecilio Vazquez - second place in Robotics Technology.

• Ceres High School team of Brad Burton, Brandon Christeson, Manuel Hernandez and Amos Marshall - third place, Robotics Technology.

Competitive events included agricultural engineering, automotive technology, criminal justice, job seeking skills, marketing mathematics, retail selling, robotics, video game design and welding.

In the retail selling event students had to come up with a new twist to the corn dog. Marketing professionals from Foster Farms judged the competition. Students had to not only create a new flavor of corn dog, but also design the packaging and pitch the idea to the judges.

One of the most real-world applicable competitions was the job-seeking skills competition. Students were judged on their ability to fill out an application, write a cover letter and produce an effective resume, and on their job interview skills.

"This was a good experience and it felt very real. There was pressure to impress, dress well, keep focused and give responses to questions," said Beyer High senior Diana Giraldo.

One of the interviewers was Hughson-based Duarte Nursery Marketing Director Sarah Eldman, who said she was impressed with some of the students, resumes and interview skills.

This year Video Game Design was added and held on March 20 and hosted by Valley Charter High School.

Students were rated on knowledge of their field of interest, ability to perform tasks using appropriate tools, and employability skills.

This marked the 18th year that Ceres High School dispatched a team to compete in the Law Enforcement Investigation competition. Instructor Randy Cerny said xx of the xxx student enrolled in criminal justice classes at CHS competed in Turlock.

Students played the role of an officer to investigate a mythical shooting. After interviewing the "victim" in a shooting, competitors questioning 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 grilled the students about their findings to determine if charges were worthy of being filed in court.

Both said they 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.

"This really helps them understand the importance to communicate well verbally and write concise reports," said Cerny.

Cerny's other students spent the day providing peer security for the fairgrounds, keeping students from straying off the fairgrounds. The security team consisted of Navdeep Sandhu, Erykah Magana, Cierra Hammons, Kassondra Jordan, Rafael Mercado, Luis Corona, Fabian Sanchez, Humberto Luna, Michael Garnica, Binder Atwal and Junior Moniz.

"I'm proud of our students who provide security services," said Cerny. "They did a good job."