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Multiple Belton ISD Students Headed to SkillsUSA State Competition

Efren Vazquez

Efren Vazquez took his first auto tech class last school year. 

The 17-year-old Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow student has had a passion for cars for as long as he can remember and tinkers on them with his dad. 

This year, the junior is headed to the state SkillsUSA Championship competition after placing first in the district Automotive Service Competition in February.

“Auto tech is something that I’ve always wanted to get into,” Vazquez said. “This win gives me so much confidence. I can see myself in that industry, and SkillsUSA is helping me prepare for that.”

Brian Bownds, the automotive technology instructor at Belton High School where Vazquez now takes the advanced tech course, is also part of that preparation.

“As an instructor, I am very excited to see Efren advance to state,” Bownds said. “He is a hard worker and is continually seeking to improve his knowledge. Efren has impressed me since he started the program. This will also open up some scholarship opportunities for him.”

For the district competition, Bownds said, Vazquez had to complete three virtual tests covering employability skills, safety and specific tasks related to Automotive Service Technology. The state competition in April will also be held virtually.

Vazquez will be joined at the State competition by 19 of his peers in several other SkillsUSA categories.

“Our students always perform well in SkillsUSA as they showcase their academic and technical skills,” said Stephanie Ferguson, director of career and technology.  “I’m very proud of their efforts this year as they prepared to compete virtually. A lot of credit goes to the teachers who helped the students navigate this new way of competing. They all experienced great success, and I know the state qualifiers will be ready to demonstrate their skills on the statewide stage.”

Belton ISD students advancing include:

Additive Manufacturing
Team A - Gold:
Sahian Serrano
Dahkotah Dzierwa
Sponsor: Pete Giustino

Automotive Service Technology
Efren Vazquez - Gold
Sponsor: Brian Bownds

Commercial Baking
Tyler Keener - Gold
Sponsor: Rebecca Alcozer

Construction Tool ID
Evan Hall - Silver
Joshua Jimenez - Bronze
Sponsor: Michael Carrillo

Crime Scene Investigation
Team A - Silver:
Taylor Abar
Nathan Hunt
Genesis Lavallee
Sponsor: Willie Ward

Principles of Engineering/Technology
Clayton Hixson - Gold 
Francisca Ordonez Lopez - Silver
Sponsor: Pete Giustino

Sheet Metal
Kyler Peters - Gold
Sponsor: Michael Carrillo

Team Works
Team A - Gold:
Rayhan Shah
Elijah Preston
Brandon Ware
Matthew Sierras

Team B - Silver: 
Chad Robertson
Victor Flores
Kelton McBride
Michael Medlin

Sponsor: Michael Carrillo

SkillsUSA Championship are career competition events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. The philosophy of the events are to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

March 12, 2021