#1StudentNWI: Hammond Area Career Center competing for success across the state

#1StudentNWI: Hammond Area Career Center competing for success across the state

Over the last few weeks the Hammond Area Career Center students have had the opportunity to show off their skills across the state of Indiana. The ACC participates in both the SkillsUSA competition and the HOSA competition. Students compete on a regional level and have the opportunity to advance into state and national competitions. The month of April students worked hard at their state competitions and the ACC had a multitude of students that placed in the top percentile. 

At SkillsUSA there were six students total that advanced to the national competition being held in Atlanta in June. In total there were 16 students that placed in the top three in their competition. In order to advance students had to place first in their category going against schools from all across the state. Students that advanced were: Joseph Heuberger- Cabinetmaking; Beatriz Guiterrez- Advertising Design; Dajuan Fondren, Joyce Fearance, Jahnei Smith, Scarlett LaBuda- Broadcast News Production. As well as the student recognition, Radio/TV instructor Stehanie Reiser won the SkillsUSA award for Advisor of the Year. Reiser’s students surprised her with a video at the award ceremony congratulating her on this exceptional achievement. 

A week after the SkillsUSA state competition, the medical field students went to compete at HOSA state. HOSA is an event for students in the medical field to compete in medical knowledge and technical use of skills. Students at the ACC spend much of their school year preparing for this as their final goal, much like the other programs with SkillsUSA. 

Students Jameelah Holloman, Teri Akinola, Gabriela Lule, Jessica Moreno, and Liliana Aguilera advanced to HOSA international being held in Nashville in June. As well as these students, 13 other ACC students placed in the top ten in their competitions. These competitions ranged from: HOSA Bowl, EMT, Medical Terminology, CPR/First Aid, Epidemiology, Research Persuasive Writing and Speaking, Medical Speaking, Health Career Display, Dental Terminology, Dental Science, and Health Career Photography.

The ACC strives for success in every program they offer. That is exemplified with all of the high honors these students brought home last month. For the last few weeks of school, students will be preparing for a higher standard at a national level as well as some students taking certification exams and more. 

Students described their experience in a variety of ways when talking about their respective state competitions. Commonly, students were nervous while still feeling well prepared for their area of competition. The students worked hard to make it to state and even some to the national level. As the national competitions approach, EMT student Jessica Moreno shared some advice for students.

“Just stay calm and keep up with the things you already know. You already made it this far," said Moreno. 

As the school year comes close to the last few weeks of school, Chef Darrick Tucker of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program likes to keep things interesting. Tucker planned a special hands on assignment as a classroom celebration for Cinco de Mayo. This past Thursday students worked on making a meal with chicken, quesadillas, rice, beans, and churros.

Students worked in groups and chatted about their next steps after this year. Some students plan to continue into the second year of this program, while others are making their final college picks.

Amid all of the organized chaos a full kitchen can bring, you can truly see the family and friends these students have made through the year. As inside jokes filled the air mixing with the aromas you could feel the dynamic this class has created. Students spend time together in the classroom setting as well as traveling together to different competitions, allowing for a closer interaction than a traditional high school. At the ACC it’s hard to find a class that does not feel like a small family. These students spend 180 odd days together and have navigated the storms of the pandemic and prospered through. 

Walking through the different classes you can see how much of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) can be applied without direct instruction. Many students have the opportunity to leave the ACC with certification and enter the job field directly while others will have a head start on their college career. Whichever it may be, students will have already made vital connections and friendships to last a lifetime. These CTE programs have created motivated and employable adults which allows for a positive movement for the next generation. 

For a final group project at the end of May, multiple classes will be working together for a mock demonstration of school violence. Classes such as EMT, cosmetology, radio/TV and criminal justice will be working together on an all day project to help wrap up the last week together. 

Students interested in joining a CTE program are encouraged to reach out to their high school counselors or attend the summer camps offered at the ACC.