This year, more Cuesta College students than ever before are eligible to participate in the SkillsUSA California 50th Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference. A total of 33 students are eligible to compete at the State level in 16 different contest areas; last year, 14 Cuesta College students qualified. On February 4, forty-two Cuesta College students competed at the regional competition held at Paso Robles High School. The students earned 38 medals*; 23 gold, 11 silver, and four bronze.

“By far, this is the most students Cuesta College has ever qualified to compete at the State level,” said John Stokes, Cuesta College’s engineering and technology division chair, who oversees the college’s SkillsUSA team. “The skill level of our students and faculty advisors is truly top notch, and we continue to prove that our programs, faculty and students are the best of the best.”

The Cuesta College State qualifiers are:

Gold - Richard Lock, Automtive Services Technology
Gold - Destini McAllen-Alcaraz, Commercial Baking
Gold - Matthew Perlette, Criminal Justice
Gold - Vickie Carson, Culinary Arts
Gold - Alexander Bissell, Digital Cinema
Gold - Collin Nuworsoo, Digital Cinema
Gold - Oziel Gutierrez, Electrical Construction Wiring
Gold - Tom Razo, Electronics Technology
Gold - Daniel Cadwell, Entrepreneurship
Gold - Lisa Cadwell, Entrepreneurship
Gold - Grace Stokes, Entrepreneurship
Gold - Maren Laurie, Entrepreneurship
Gold - Eszenyi Castillo, First Aid/CPR
Gold - Chelsea Mukai, Medical Terminology
Gold - Frank Wall, Mobile Electrical Installation
Gold - Eryn Tsudama, Occupational Safety & Health 2
Gold - Courtney Lawrie, Occupational Safety & Health 2
Gold - Garret Wiley, Occupational Safety & Health 2
Gold - Daniel MacFarlane, Related Technical Math
Gold - Michael Dye, Welding Fabrication
Gold - Tyler Forbes, Welding Fabrication
Gold - Robert Kohlbush, Welding Fabrication
Gold - Fernando Castillo, Welding TIG
Silver - Madeleine Ashdown, Automtive Services Technology
Silver - Mark Rincon, Electrical Construction Wiring
Silver - Kai Zajac, Medical Terminology
Silver - Kristopher Buelas Sr., Occuptation Safety & Health 1
Silver - Nathaniel Hobbs, Occuptation Safety & Health 2
Silver - Robert Stone, Occuptation Safety & Health 3
Silver - Ben Clark, Welding
Bronze - Francisco Alvarado, Electrical Construction Wiring
Bronze - Francesca Williams, Medical Terminology
Bronze - Matt Larsen Related, Technical Math

The SkillsUSA California conference competition will take place April 20-23, 2017, in San Diego. This is the eleventh year in a row the college has qualified for the contest.

The national championships, where all State gold medalists are invited to compete, is set for June 19-23, 2017, in Louisville, KY. In June 2016, Cuesta College sent eight students to the national championships; a team comprised of Joey Grant of Atascadero, Trevor Poindexter of San Luis Obispo, and William Dexter of Half Moon Bay, brought home the gold in welding fabrication.

Alumnus Michael Mullen competed in the WorldSkills International competition in August 2015. Mullen represented the United States in auto service technology. In 2011, former Cuesta College student Daniel Lehmkuhl competed in automobile technology at WorldSkills International in London. Both are San Luis Obispo natives.

SkillsUSA teaches students the technical skills required for employment in Career Technical Educational fields, along with the soft-skills required in the workplace. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. For more information, vidit the official SkillsUSA website.

*Not all medal earners qualify to compete at the State competition.