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Local students take top honors at Occupational Olympics
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Approximately 750 Stanislaus County high school students took part in the Occupational Olympics at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on Wednesday. In addition to the competitive event, 70 vendors were part of a Career Expo. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition Local Medal Winners

Turlock High School

Large School Overall Award

Fabian Cruz- First Place (Agricultural Equipment Technology)

Chelie Millete- First Place (Fashion Design)
Gabriel Iniguez – First Place (Machine Tool Operation)
Jagveer Singh –First Place (Pitsco Drag Racing –Light Weight Class)
Frank Abarca – First Place (Pitsco Drag Racing –Heavy Weight Class)
Mark Cisneros – First Place (Pitsco Drag Racing –Design)
Austin Silva – First Place (Welding)
Mark Lopes – Second Place (Agricultural Equipment Technology)
Karina Hamilton – Second Place (Hairstyling)
Ryan Davis – Second Place (Machine Tool Operation)
Jeremy Souza – Second Place (Pitsco Drag Racing – Light Weight Class)
Mark Machado – Second Place (Pitsco Drag Racing – Heavy Weight Class)
Jagveer Singh – Second Place (Pitsco Drag Racing – Design)
Kayla Luna – Third Place (Fashion Design)
Gabriela Lozano – Third Place (General Marketing)
Jesus Arroyo – Third Place (Machine Tool Operation)
Shelby Plooy – Third Place (Medical Occupations)
Timmy Kelso – Third Place (Pitsco Drag Racing – Heavy Weight Class)

Pitman High School
Jolin Dhillon – First Place (Accounting)
Simone Chambliss – First Place (Criminal Justice)
Natalee Atwood – First Place (Floriculture)
Joseph Geraldes – First Place (Job Seeking Skills)
Gina Lorenzi – Second Place (Accounting)
Tyler McCone – Second Place (General Marketing)
Pablo Rodas – Third Place (Accounting)

They may be young, but they are ambitious! Local high school students showed they were ready to take the next step into a new career path during the 28th Annual Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition held at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock on Wednesday afternoon.

Approximately 750 students throughout Stanislaus County competed in 24 career oriented events, ranging from Accounting to Pitsco Drag Racing. Representatives from local businesses judged students based on their portfolio, professionalism, and leadership abilities.

Turlock High School reigned supreme out of the entire county, winning 18 awards and the Large School Overall Award for their students' competitive skills. Pitman High students also ranked one of the highest on the score cards, and took home seven awards.

“Competitions are a great way for students to test themselves,” said OOCE Chair Cindy Young. “Through this program, we are striving kids to be career and college ready. They really have to use skills they’ve acquired in the classroom. At the end of the day, you notice they stand a little taller.”

“We’ve been learning how to use these skills in class, and prepared for a month and half for this,” said Pitman High freshman Gvarais Yaco, who registered for the Portfolio Review. “It is a lot of peer pressure to be here. If you just ignore the kids and follow your dreams, you can do anything. I want to become a genetic engineer and major in biology technology.”

“This is my first time coming here,” said Sean Andersen, a junior at Denair High School. “I have an Ag Accounting class at school. My teacher asked me if I wanted to do the Accounting competition, and I said ‘okay.’”

Along with the competitive aspect of the event, students had the opportunity to talk with representatives from a variety of possible career paths.

Young credited the collaboration between the school districts, teachers, County Superintendent Tom Changnon, and businesses for the success of the event.