Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

SkillsUS YAY

Posted 05/02/2023 by Ravi Apte

The TJ SkillsUSA winners with their metals. photo by Jerry Esparza

TJ’s SkillsUSA team competed in the state competition and came out victorious.

Thomas Jefferson High School competed at the SkillsUSA state competition in Pueblo on April 3-4th. TJ’s SkillsUSA chapter saw great success and won medals in all five of the categories they competed in. The lucky first place winners have been given the opportunity to compete in their categories at a national level. TJ teacher and SkillsUSA advisor, Jerome Esparza stated, “We have achieved the highest state of excellence.” 

SkillsUSA is a nationwide student body organization that prompts workplace skills and talents among its members. TJ has had an illustrious history in the SkillsUSA competition, and this year they lived up to the high standard expected from our school. This year TJ became a Gold Chapter of Excellence for the seventh consecutive year. The Chapter of Excellence is the highest level of distinction at the state level within the SkillsUSA organization. TJ’s chapter is the only chapter in Colorado that has revived this honor for seven consecutive years. 

Fifteen TJ members attended the state conference and competed in 3D Animation, Computer Programming, Prepared Speech, Photography, and Digital Cinema. They received gold medals in 3D Animation and in Computer Programming, silver in 3D Animation, Photography, and Prepared Speech, and bronze metals in Digital Cinema, Computer Programming, and Photography. Later this spring the gold medal winners will have the opportunity to attend the SkillsUSA national conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and compete against the very best from all over the country.  

SkillsUSA member and junior Jesse Mishell was elected as a SkillsUSA state officer and appointed as the Vice President of SkillsUSA Colorado, the second highest rank a student member can obtain at state level. Esparza stated that he knew Mishell could achieve this high rank when he first joined theSkillsUSA. “I saw in Mishell the potential to be a good leader.”  commented Esparza. One of the many responsibilities that Mishell has taken on with this title is planning and organizing next year’s state conference, Mishell is committed to his new position and stated that he “will take an active role in not not only our local community but the community of the entire state to get kids enrolled in SkillsUSA all across Colorado, and to make sure they are given the most opportunities possible while working with SkillsUSA.”  TJ sophomore Emanuel Morales was also appointed by the SkillsUSA state advisors as a state officer, although his title is unknown at this time. 

Esparza has been the Senior Advisor for SkillsUSA for many years. He has encouraged all TJ students to participate in SkillsUSA and to take advantage of the many opportunities. This year Esparza was awarded the outstanding Career and Technical Educators’ award by SkillsUSA. This prestigious award is given on a national level to only the select few who have earned it. “I felt humbled and honored to be recognized,” commented Esparza. Unfortunately, this year will be Esparza’s last; TJ teacher Jonathan Howard will be taking over next year, but this will not be the last SkillsUSA sees of Esparza, who  plans to still work with SkillsUSA Colorado in other ways.