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Creating Future Leaders in High School One Skill At A Time


December 3, 2020 -- Four students at the Fort Hayes Career Center were selected by their peers to represent Columbus City Schools at a Regional Leadership Conference last month. “I am so proud of these young women,” said Vicky Pate, Health Science Teacher at Fort Hayes Career Center. “It means their hard work and commitment to being a leader in a student-led organization paid off.” 

The students, Senior Jhalez Caldwell-Craig (Whetstone), and Juniors Safia Bah (Independence), Kofo Sholesi, Binta Sankoh, (Fort Hayes Arts and Academic) participated virtually in the SkillsUSA Leadership Conference. SkillsUSA is a student leadership organization that develops Career Technical Education (CTE) students across the nation for the future. SkillsUSA teaches students how to develop skills using a three-pronged approach:

  • Technical Skills Grounded in Academics
  • Workplace Skills
  • Personal Skills

The four young women had to deliver a two-minute speech on why they should be selected as regional officers to represent their school district at the Leadership Conference. “Our students persevered during these difficult times to go above and beyond to pursue leadership roles and become inspirational role models for their peers,” said Pate. “For the entire school year, these students will have the opportunity to network and compete with other SkillsUSA students across Ohio and the nation.” 

In Ohio, students enrolled in a CTE program must be members of a Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO). This is the second year Fort Hayes Career Center students competed in the SkillsUSA competition. 

“Competing for a position as a SkillsUSA south-central regional officer was both exciting and anxious,” said Safia Bah. “I was so happy to be selected as one of seven regional officers. Without my advisors at the Fort Hayes Career Center, I would not have had this opportunity.”

Daquante Harden is also a believer. He competed last year in the SkillsUSA Leadership conference before graduating from CCS. “SkillsUSA is life-changing,” said Harden, now a 19-year-old freshman at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. “SkillsUSA gave me confidence and helped me overcome my fear of public speaking.”

While it is mandated that all CTE students in Ohio join a Career Technical Student Organization, there is no requirement when it comes to participation. “That’s why the health building staff at Fort Hayes Career Center works so hard to expose and include every student in the leadership organization,” said Pate. “The experience can be that life-changing.”