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TSTC Students Qualify for Skills USA State Competition

Friday, February 28, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

SkillsStudents from the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology (ACT) Program at Texas State Technical College took their first step toward competing at the Skills USA state competition last week with a preliminary competition held on campus and judges by area professionals.

The top three students advance to the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) competition at the state meet in San Antonio on March 20-22.

Tara Mendez took first place in the prelim competition and in the pin design. The competition consisted of five stages where students did everything from rewire a thermostat to trouble-shooting an air conditioning unit.

The pin design is simply a design of a lapel pin that will be entered to the state contest. The winning pin will used to represent the state at the national competition during the summer.

Eric Cavazos was second and Frank Hernandez was third in the HVAC competition. The prelim took all day Friday and 12 students from the ACT program took part in the event that consisted of five stations.

"I was really nervous," Mendez said. "It was a good opening competition."

This is the first time Mendez has competed in Skills USA and is looking forward to the upcoming competition in San Antonio.

Mendez plans on graduating at the end of this semester and is looking forward to finding a job soon after she's done with school.

"I didn't get to compete last year so I'm giving it everything this time around," Mendez said.

Besides being one of the top ACT students at TSTC, Mendez serves as the Student Government Association (SGA) President and is actively involved around campus.

Still she hasn't let her busy schedule keep her from focusing on the prize. Mendez said a good showing at the state competition could lead to great career opportunities after college.

"We come in after hours and stay until about 6 or 6:30 on Wednesdays to practice," Mendez said. "We have to be ready for everything because you never know what they're going to throw at you at state."

Mendez said the instructors have done a great job of preparing her and the other two competitors for the competition and the workforce.

"Over the course of the past couple of years, we've covered every topic that we could potentially encounter at the competition," Mendez said. "We're more than well-prepared and that's because of our instructors."

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