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A SkillsUSA Week With A Year’s Worth of Impact

These SkillsUSA Nebraska students seized every day of SkillsUSA Week this year, from mentoring elementary students to sharing the importance of the skilled trades with their community.
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Officer Team L to R: Miranda Strizek, Saige Patocka, Kody Tejral, Haley Klement, Kaleen Zak, Lindsey Prochaska. Photo courtesy of East Butler High School.

SkillsUSA Week is held the second full week of February each year in conjunction with Career and Technical Education Month. It’s a time for all SkillsUSA chapters across the United States to both celebrate the organization and share its benefits with peers, parents, partners, the media, government officials and other community members.

Chapters from across the United States celebrated this year’s SkillsUSA Week in big ways, and the SkillsUSA chapter at East Butler High School (EBHS) in Brainard, Neb., is a champion-level example. During the Feb. 6-10 celebration, 52 SkillsUSA members from EBHS planned and carried out a variety of unique and impactful activities.

On Monday’s “Recognition Day,” the chapter created a SkillsUSA bulletin board and shared SkillsUSA updates and trivia questions during daily morning announcements to raise SkillsUSA awareness. On Tuesday (“Give Back Day”), four high school students visited third- and fourth-grade classrooms and taught the younger students a Jump Into STEM! curriculum activity about what it would be like to be an architect. That was senior and SkillsUSA secretary Lindsey Prochaska’s favorite part of the week. “I’m planning to major in interior architecture,” she explains, “and we used the architecture lesson plan to help them understand what that job entails. We also explained SkillsUSA and told them they can join when they get to middle school.”

On Wednesday (“Partner Day”), the chapter conducted local industry tours to Kawasaki, Lincoln Industries and Lincoln Electric Systems. There, they took in the facilities and learned about potential careers. “At Kawasaki, I was surprised to learn that we could possibly get a job there right out of high school if we have welding experience,” says junior Miranda Strizek, who serves as her chapter’s vice president and SkillsUSA Nebraska’s state reporter. SkillsUSA treasurer and senior Kody Tejral added, “I found it interesting that Kawasaki had self-driving vehicles, and they had self-welder robots too.”

Commenting on the visit to Lincoln Industries, chapter president and senior Kaleen Zak says, “They offer so much to their employees. They have a gym, a full-time nurse and paid on-the-job training. It also seems like they appreciate their employees.”

“Visiting Lincoln Electric was amazing,” adds chapter parliamentarian and senior Saige Patocka. “Inside the building, they had huge electric posts with electric wires — like you would see on the street — so they could practice and train their employees.” Senior and chapter reporter Hayley Klement commented, “It was cool to see the main room at Lincoln Electric with big computer screens so they could see all of the electrical problems in the city. We also saw where they store their fleet trucks and giant cranes inside the building, and they have electric car-charging areas for their employees.”

On Thursday (“Advocacy Day”), the SkillsUSA students linked up with their school’s FFA and Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapters and provided neon pink shirts to all 99 of the career and technical student organization members. On Friday (“SkillsUSA Day”), students celebrated by giving each SkillsUSA member a logo cup with candy and an ice cream bar.

“It was a great week,” says SkillsUSA advisor Lisa Bohaty. “I feel that all our activities helped raise awareness of SkillsUSA and the benefits of career and technical education. The students thoroughly enjoyed the week and so did I.”

The EBHS chapter created a video to remember their SkillsUSA Week that might just inspire other students in their chapter activities.

Learn more about SkillsUSA Week on our website.

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