FONTANA, CA – Summit High School career technical education (CTE) students delivered impressive performances at the SkillsUSA Region 6 2021 Virtual Leadership and Skill Conference, earning 15 gold medals and sending 46 students to the state finals, to be held in April.

From entrepreneurship and cyber security to pin design, Summit students rose to the challenge of the virtual format, medaling or placing in 17 separate categories.

“Our CTE students overcame many obstacles to compete virtually in SkillsUSA,” Summit CTE department chair Valerie McClellan said. “They took new risks and challenged their own comfort levels to ensure their presentations would be just as powerful virtually as they would be in person, and their hard work paid off. Congratulations to all our students. We wish them luck at state.”

Summit High senior Aaron Vera joined classmates Emma Hernandez, Natalia Ramirez and Jade Centeno as Entrepreneurship gold medal winners for their startup app Wisteria, a healthcare platform that allows its users to access a wide range of mental health services and resources, with the goal of increasing equity in mental health resources for underrepresented populations. Vera serves as Wisteria’s CEO.

“This was an amazing experience that allowed us to show our adaptability in such unknown and unforeseen times,” Vera said. “The pandemic can make you feel like all odds are stacked against you, but it was amazing to see our team come together. We put in many hours to ensure our business plan and our presentation exceeded our expectations. We can’t wait to go to state.”

Summit High senior Julio Hernandez won a gold medal in Pin Design for a button that celebrates California’s natural beauty and diversity, with blue skies, snow-capped mountains, rugged deserts, cresting waves, native flora and fauna, and perpetual sunshine.

“SkillsUSA was a risk I took and it paid off. I was excited and nervous to compete, but it really allowed me to tap my creative abilities and show what I am capable of,” Hernandez said. “I wanted my pin to represent California, a diverse state where hopes and dreams are fulfilled. I spent months trying to perfect my design and it ended up exactly how I wanted it to be.”

Summit High Cyber Security competitors made a complete sweep, earning gold, silver and bronze medals and sending eight students to the state finals. For Summit Cyber Security adviser Bruce Tuttle, the most impressive aspect of their success is that most of his students are underclassmen.

“I am very proud of the performances of our Summit students. The level of commitment demonstrated by our CTE students is a byproduct of their enjoyment of the class,” Tuttle said. “Most of our students have competed in SkillsUSA before and they collaborated very well when preparing for the competition, which had to be a contributing factor in their success.”

Summit High competitors also won gold medals in Additive Manufacturing, Customer Service, Employment Application Process, Information Technology Services, Television Video Production, and Introductory Advertising Design. Summit students also medaled or placed in Advertising Design, Humanoid Robotics, Job Interview, Maintenance and Light Repair Auto, Photography, Robotics and Automation Technology, Robotics Urban Search and Rescue, and T-Shirt Design.

“Congratulations to all of our Summit High SkillsUSA medal winners and participants, who demonstrated their talent, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills as individuals and in teams,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Congratulations as well to Valerie McClellan and all of the Summit CTE instruction team, whose guidance and leadership have helped inspire our students’ excellence.”