SkillsUSA students are gaining real-life business experience by putting their products in the hands of Ridgefield residents and by leading civic-minded projects
The custom crafted wooden cutting boards, handmade pottery mug sets, and angular modern fire pits would be at home in any high-end artisanal market — and they were crafted right here in Ridgefield by high school students. Thanks to the SkillsUSA student association, they’ll be available for sale soon to the general public.
Brianna Minor is the president of RHS SkillsUSA, a career and leadership organization for high school students. Minor explains that members aren’t just studying career information; they have built their own company around the products crafted by RHS students. They applied for a business license, developed a logo, created a website, designed products, created an online store, and are building an inventory of hand-crafted products ahead of the website’s launch.
Minor showcases the products they will be selling. “Students made everything here,” Minor said. “The welding shop made the fire pits, woodshop made the cutting boards, and ceramics made the mugs. Anything we get from sales goes right back to SkillsUSA to pay for our travel to competitions and community projects.” She gives a bright smile, switching smoothly from sales to recruitment. “Members also get these really cool shirts and jackets!” She’s justifiably proud of what SkillsUSA is achieving.
The SkillsUSA organization focuses on leadership across a wide range of CCTE (College, Career, and Technical Education) areas. There are numerous CCTE paths available at RHS, including woodshop, metal shop, photography, foods, ceramics, health care, graphic design, and more. SkillsUSA welcomes students from all career paths to participate in community-focused activities, business skill building, and competition.
Jared Hundley teaches graphic design and animation at RHS and leads the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program in digital design and is the sponsor for SkillsUSA. “The students run the club,” he says. “They do a great job with everything, with all of their activities. Students selected the products they wanted to sell, and they all volunteer their time to make them. We should have the online store launching soon.”
Hundley says the students are also working on a community project to create a more park-like area around a new sculpture at the RHS campus. The “Tree of Life”, by Battle Ground sculptor Curtis Pittman, is a large steel sculpture designed to emulate grass blowing in the wind, but the area around the sculpture has not been modified yet. SkillsUSA students plan to install a plaza-style surround, with gravel paths, benches designed and built by students, and irrigation, to complete the artist’s idea of a welcoming space in front of the school.
SkillsUSA students are gaining real-life business experience by putting their products in the hands of Ridgefield residents and by leading civic-minded projects. They look forward to continuing to make positive change, not just in the lives of their student members, but also in the Ridgefield community.
Information provided by Ridgefield School District.
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