Waco Culinary Arts

(WACO, Texas) – More than 40 students from Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus are preparing to compete at the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference scheduled for April 13-15 in Houston.

“Students are buzzing with anticipation, as well as advisors,” said Abby Ford, TSTC’s assistant department chair of general education and SkillsUSA coordinator for the Waco campus.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 categories in which students can compete, from 3D Visualization to Welding Sculpture.

Some of the events the Waco campus students are preparing for include the Automotive Service Technology, Cabinetmaking, Job Interview, and Welding competitions.

Fabian Camargo, of Cumby, is a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology student who will compete in the Heavy Equipment Operations Demonstration.

“I’m a really competitive person,” he said. “I wanted to try something new.”

Camargo has practiced on Mondays and Wednesdays, inspecting and driving a forklift, a mini-excavator and a skid-steer loader.

“I like to go in willing to learn,” he said. “My mindset is to take it all.”

Troy Welch, of Jarrell, is a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology student who will compete in the Plumbing contest.

“I’m always up for a challenge,” he said.

Welch has prepared by watching online tutorial videos and working between classes on soldering and the roughing-in process for plumbing installation. He said the program’s instructors have been very attentive in helping the students get ready for competitions.

“I am happy to compete,” Welch said. “It’s a resume item. Plumbing will be my career for the next 20 to 30 years.”

Anyely Sierra, of Temple, is a Culinary Arts student who will compete in the Restaurant Service contest.

“I feel like it is a really big step, putting myself out there,” she said.

Sierra has been working before and after classes with Martha Rivera, lead instructor in TSTC’s Culinary Arts program, perfecting techniques to make mocktails and set fine dining tables. She has also gotten experience working in the program’s student-operated restaurant.

“I can say it has prepared me a lot for SkillsUSA,” she said.

For more information on SkillsUSA, go to skillsusa.org.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu. 

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