District News

Twin Rivers Students Head to State SkillsUSA

Left to right, front: RLHS teacher LaRelle Woodall, students Cicily Thomas, Michael Egan, Kasey Hales and Brian van der Veen. Back: Hannah Duncan, Blaine Harris, Nicolaus Henrikson and Dawn Harris.

Approximately 42 Twin Rivers Unified students will showcase leadership and technical skills at the SkillsUSA California 50th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference in San Diego, April 20-23. SkillsUSA provides leadership training to students and instructors in the career and technical education sectors.

The conference usually attracts 3,000 students from around the state. Rio Linda High School senior Brian Indiana van der Veen will compete in extemporaneous speaking—5 minutes to prepare a 3-5 minute speech after he is given a prompt.

The 17-year-old won gold in that category at the regional competition in February. Quite an accomplishment for someone who always thought of himself as an introvert.

"I'm excited and a little nervous," says van der Veen. "But overall, I'm happy to have found a voice to express myself and the opportunity to do it at SkillsUSA. I prepared for weeks in advance for the regionals in February and got plenty of positive feedback that reinforced my confidence."

Rio Linda is taking 13 students to the conference. Eight of them, including van der Veen, are in LaRelle Woodall's Small Business Entrepreneurship class.

"It (SkillsUSA) gives them direction, it gives them hands-on experiences about working in a particular field and improving their education," says Woodall.

Grant Union High school will take 20 students to SkillsUSA and Foothill High will take nine. All the students placed in the regional competition.

Areas of competition for the Twin Rivers group include: crime scene investigation, customer service, job interview, entrepreneurship, mobile robotics, architectural design, and promotional bulletin board.   

State winners (gold medalists only) go on to the national competition in Louisville, Ky., in June.

Skills USA will be held at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego April 20-23. Two students from Rio Linda—Brian Indiana van der Veen and Cicily Thomas—are running for California SkillsUSA state office.

Posted April 2017