Choffin students go to state

By Amanda Tonoli


Thirty-two Choffin Career and Technical Center School students are traveling to a state SkillsUSA Competition in Columbus today.

Kristy Olenik, Choffin public safety instructor, said seven students in the traveling group placed straight to state from the regional competition and 15 placed in the top three spots in their categories, which also brought them to Columbus.

Ten students joined them for the experience.

“The competition allows students to perform their job skills of any sort and be judged against other students skills,” explained Kathy Duraney, Choffin digital graphic design and imaging instructor.

One student had 24 hours’ notice to best prepare her skill – button making.

Andrea Montaz is in her first year at Choffin and was able to make it to the state’s SkillsUSA Competition with her day of practice.

“I just told myself, ‘Don’t be scared and do your best,’ and now I’m going on to state,” she said.

Another student group was tasked with best showing its skills to get through the Game of Life – both literally and metaphorically.

Students Jonathan Rosa, Erin Fetty and Jalayla Kelly modeled their creative posterboard after the Milton Bradley game of Life.

“For the competition, we are supposed to take everything we learned here and apply it to [poster]board and say how it makes us successful,” Jonathan explained.

Jonathan incorporated some setbacks he faced personally into the “game.”

It includes health issues, an immunodeficiency problem he faced when he was younger; the struggle to get or maintain good grades in school; and more.

“It’s important you show the downs when you show ups and downs, but it’s also important to show positive things – the silver linings,” he said. “No matter what, in the end you get that big payday.”

Erin’s obstacles on the board involved dealing with anxiety – something she overcame enough to use it as an example.

“No matter what, you can overcome [anxiety], and there are so many opportunities in your life and your life is important,” she said.

Jonathan mirrored Erin’s sentiment.

“Anything is possible if you keep your mind to it and never give up,” he said.

The team’s third and more shy teammate Jalayla opened up and based her obstacles on the board as both health and bullying.

She was unable to play sports growing up due to having scoliosis and was bullied because of it.

Jalayla said she ignored the bullies and channeled her energy into discovering what she excelled at: art.

Jalayla’s art skills are displayed on the posterboard.

The students will return from the competition Wednesday.

“We’re excited to show that Choffin is full of champions at work preparing America’s skilled workforce,” Duraney said.

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