Angel Perez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Some students at Texas State Technical College have found a productive way to observe CTE (Career and Technical Education) Month.

Angel Perez and Jaclynn Pereida are busily preparing for the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary State Leadership and Skills Conference that will be held in Houston in April.

Perez, of Harlingen, became interested in the HVAC field because his best friend’s father is an HVAC independent contractor. Perez is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC Technology.

“I used to join my friend and his father during their fishing trips,” he said. “Along the way his father had to visit a job. We assisted by giving him a gauge or a screwdriver. I found his father’s job interesting.”

To prepare for the SkillsUSA competition, Perez is being guided by Billy Weaver, a TSTC HVAC instructor and SkillsUSA advisor at the TSTC campus in Harlingen.

“I am learning the correct procedure to troubleshoot a furnace, air conditioning units, split units, and how to charge refrigerant into an air conditioner,” he said. “Mr. Weaver demonstrates what me and my teammate need to learn. Then we proceed on our own.”

The third-semester student has expanded on his experience in the HVAC Technology program in preparation for SkillsUSA.

“I see it as an opportunity with more hands-on learning,” he said. “It continues what I learned in class.”

Weaver added that Perez is a great student.

“He always wants to know the ‘why’ and the theory behind it,” he said.

Pereida, of Los Fresnos, grew up around family barbecues. Those memories inspired her to cook meals for her family. Now she is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts.

In preparation for the SkillsUSA competition, she practices restaurant service. This entails organizational skills and how to understand customers’ orders.

“I am practicing napkin folding and mock service,” she said. “The napkins must be elegant and clean. Then I set up an entree and salad plates. I also set up the silverware and glassware.

Then I provide a service on the side for our customers. This consists of preparing a Caesar salad in front of them and conversing with them. And I also practice at home.”

The second-semester student said her culinary arts experience and SkillsUSA preparation is motivating.

When competition day arrives, Pereida’s intent is to observe the other colleges’ culinary teachings.

“I am excited to meet various culinary arts students from different regions,” she said. “I am curious to know what similar interests we may have.”

Omar Duran, a TSTC Culinary Arts instructor and SkillsUSA advisor, said that Pereida is practicing twice per week.

“She is very skilled and has great confidence,” he said. “We are working on other minor aspects to ensure she is ready,” he said.

CTE Month, celebrated each February, recognizes the value and achievement of career and technical education programs across the nation.

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