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Pioneer High School Alumnus Takes Second at National SkillsUSA Competition

Recent Pioneer High School (PHS) graduate Fidel Castro took home a silver medal in the Information Technology Services competition at the 2017 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The three-day competition, which involved 62 competitors representing the best from every state in the country in both secondary and post-secondary divisions, ran for nine hours each day June 20 - 22. 

Castro placed first in the IT Services competition at the SkillsUSA California state conference in San Diego the last two years. He also attended last year’s national conference and placed fourth in the same competition.

While at PHS, Castro participated in the school’s Academy of Computer Engineering Science (ACES), which offers technology, CyberSecurity: ICT Essentials and Internet Engineering classes.

“Fidel has worked very hard to prove himself. He has worked tirelessly, both in and out of the classroom, to constantly improve, and he inspires others to excel alongside him,” said David Bayne, PHS ACES instructor. “His success validates the curriculum taught in the ACES classes and the leadership skills taught within the SkillsUSA program at PHS. We are very proud to share in his success and look forward to him doing great things.”

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving more than 300,000 high school and postsecondary students in career and technical education (CTE) training programs. Through SkillsUSA, students gain self-esteem, pride in their work, and leadership and professional development skills to help them make a successful transition from school to the workplace.

The Information Technology Services competition challenges students’ skills in installing, configuring and managing computer systems, networks and related technologies. Throughout the contests, students are required to exhibit professional skills and attitudes toward their professional industry judges.

“I was really nervous during the awards ceremony,” said Castro. “I wasn’t expecting to medal higher than third, so it was very exciting when they announced my name and state, especially with all of the California participants standing and cheering.”

Castro will continue his studies at UC Davis starting in September.