MONTEBELLO – Nine students were recognized by the Montebello Unified School District Regional Occupational Program during a luncheon June 2 at the Montebello YMCA for their outstanding professionalism in a Districtwide competition.

Students received gold, silver and bronze medals based on how well they built a resume, completed an application and interviewed and presented a product to a panel of judges. These job skills are incorporated into the ROP curriculum for professional dance, financial services, health occupations, automotive technology, computer graphics, food service management and architecture, construction & engineering.

“It’s critical that our students become well-versed in the fundamentals of how to apply for a job and present themselves in a professional manner,” Montebello Unified Board President Benjamin Cárdenas said. “Montebello’s Regional Occupational Program provides them with the skills to walk into an employer’s office with confidence.”

ROP teachers at the District’s high schools nominated students to compete in the finals of the 2015-16 ROP Outstanding Student Competition, showcasing their professionalism in a generic job interview and product presentation for a panel of judges in April.

Lizabeth Castillo, a senior at Montebello High School, took home a gold medal with the highest score among her peers. Castillo said she was shy and not a very good public speaker until taking the ROP professional dance class.

“Dance is a very competitive industry so you have to present yourself well on- and off-stage,” she said.

The ROP professional dance class stands out from other dance classes offered at Montebello High School because students are able to perform off-campus. For Castillo that included dancing at East Los Angeles College and fundraisers.

Castillo plans to double major in dance and political science next year at California State University at Long Beach. She wants to attend law school and sees dancing after high school as a hobby.

This year’s gold medalists are Lizabeth Castillo and Elya Avalyan of Montebello High School and Brenda Estrada of Schurr High School. This year’s silver medalists are Karen Segura of the Applied Technology Center, Valerie Segura of Bell Gardens High and Priscilla Bueno of Montebello High. This year’s bronze medal recipients are Alberto Martinez and Edgar Ramos of Bell Gardens High and Alejandro Soto of Montebello High.

“I would like to thank our skilled ROP teachers for preparing an extraordinary group of students who were recognized at this year’s ROP Outstanding Student Competition,” Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “These students’ professionalism exemplifies the kind of career-readiness we’re instilling in our graduates.”

Photo Caption

MUSDROP: ROP student finalists, panelists and other local school district leaders at the Montebello Unified School District Regional Occupation Program’s 2016 Outstanding Student Competition on June 2.