South Pasadena Unified School District

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SPHS Students Shine in SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference

This year, 13 SPHS students qualified for and participated in various competitions at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in June. SPHS students competed in Entrepreneurship, 3D Animation and Visualization, Outstanding Chapter, Pin Design, Computer Programming and Related Technical Math. Two students, Krish Patel and Aerin Kim also served as National delegates for California.

Eight students were named as national finalists by placing within the top nine during their competitions. They are:

Entrepreneurship: Avik Gautam, Annalea Pearson, Isha Zafra and Oscar Cassidy
Graphic Imaging Dye Sublimation: Maya Villasenor
Outstanding Chapter: Chris Kuizon, Kiana Dettman, and Cyrus Hulme

The eight national finalists, along with Ethan Xie in the Related Technical Math competition, received Skillpoint certificates. These certificates are awarded to competitors who have achieved or exceeded benchmarks set by each industry.

The Entrepreneurship team (listed above) received a gold medal, which was a first for SPHS in this particular competition. The team developed a virtual water bottle business named TAZA. These student leaders also worked during the year to lead their peers in Virtual Enterprise competitions and trade fairs, making TAZA a success in both the Virtual Enterprise International curriculum and SkillsUSA. The TAZA team placed first in the regional competition in January; first in the state competition in April; and now first in the national competition, competing against high schools from all over the country.

Maya Villasenor, a recent SPHS graduate, competed in Graphic Imaging Dye Sublimation and received a bronze medal and a $250 gift card. She placed first in the SkillsUSA California State competition this year, and also qualified last year before the competition was canceled due to Covid.

Congratulations to all the student competitors and to their advisors, CTE Teachers Sandra Matson-Fennell and Cathy Mason.

Go, Tigers!

For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent at