Corpus Christi 2023 SkillsUSA Texas Leadership and Skills Conference - high school.

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s sponsorship of the 2023 SkillsUSA Texas Leadership and Skills Conference reached beyond just seeing its star-bearing logo displayed there.

TSTC’s instructors and recruiters participated in the conference from Thursday, March 30, to Saturday, April 1, at the American Bank Center and other locations in Corpus Christi. Recruiters also awarded TSTC scholarships to high school students who placed in selected contests.

Rachel Lantrip, a recruiter for TSTC’s Abilene campus, was attending her first SkillsUSA state conference. She and four other recruiters from TSTC’s Harlingen, North Texas and Waco campuses worked at a TSTC booth adorned with a blue balloon-patterned star to talk to those wanting to learn more about the campus.

Lantrip said some of the common questions that visitors had included where TSTC campuses were located and what technical programs were taught.

Students who visited the TSTC booth could also electronically fill out an admissions application. Lantrip said the recruiters received at least 30 applications during the conference.

“It’s been amazing seeing the students develop these skills they can use in the real world,” she said. 

Marchelle Taylor, an instructor in TSTC’s Nursing program at the Breckenridge campus, was a judge in the Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue contest. This was the second year she had worked with the contest.

“I enjoy seeing these kids and the amazing projects they have come up with,” she said.

Taylor said she enjoyed telling high school SkillsUSA advisors about the work that TSTC does to produce graduates for technical jobs in the state. 

Isaac Gonzalez, lead instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program at the Harlingen campus, spent his 13th year as a judge in the Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue contest.

“I enjoy just getting to do public relations and recruiting for TSTC (at the conference),” Gonzalez said. “We are reaching out to industry and instructors that might be interested in TSTC.”

Gonzalez said he tells students that TSTC’s instructors are there for them if they win gold medals and represent Texas at the SkillsUSA national conference.

Also assisting in conference events were TSTC instructors Jimmy Bibb, Renee Blackshear, Christopher Porter and Billy Weaver.

Some students who won medals at the conference also left Corpus Christi with TSTC scholarships in hand. For the first time, the college awarded six $10,000 scholarships to students for competition excellence in selected contests. Receiving the scholarships were:

  • Carpentry: Chad Robertson of Belton High School.
  • CNC Programming: Cesar Villarreal of Hollenstein Career Technology Center in Fort Worth.
  • Diesel Equipment Technology: Drew McNeal of North Lamar High School in Paris.
  • HVAC and Refrigeration: Richard Alcastromco of Construction Careers Academy in San Antonio.
  • Internetworking: Raul Juarez of Boswell High School in Fort Worth.
  • Plumbing: Nathaniel Hernandez of Belton High School.

The college will later award five first-place gold medalists with $6,000 scholarships, five second-place silver medalists with $3,000 scholarships, and five third-place bronze medalists with $1,000 scholarships. These will be for high school seniors planning to attend TSTC who won medals in any SkillsUSA event at the conference.

The scholarships can be used at any TSTC campus.

For more information on TSTC, go to

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