UNM-Gallup SkillsUSA Chapter to host Demonstration Night

Community is invited to watch students showcase their areas of expertise ahead of state competition

UNM-Gallup SkillsUSA Chapter to host Demonstration Night

Categories: Students   Faculty   Staff   Community  

By Richard Reyes | Monday, April 3, 2023

GALLUP, N.M. — The University of New Mexico-Gallup SkillsUSA Chapter will host a Demonstration Night, giving students a chance to practice and show off their areas of expertise for their parents and community members, at 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in the Calvin Hall Center Auditorium at the branch campus.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association aimed at connecting students to employment by developing workplace skills, personal skills and job-specific skills. UNM-Gallup formed its SkillsUSA Chapter in 2014 and has been competing in state and national competitions since 2015.

The upcoming Demonstration Night will give students the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming competition at the SkillsUSA New Mexico Championships in Albuquerque April 13-15. At the Demo Night, Students will showcase their public speaking skills as well as their abilities in certain categories, such as customer service, cosmetology, promotional bulletin board, welding, and more.

“This will give family and parents, UNM folks and anyone else the chance to see what students will be doing when they go to Albuquerque,” UNM-Gallup SkillsUSA advisor Ann Jarvis said.

“What we wanted to do was give competitors a chance to get in front of a crowd and practice,” fellow advisor Frank Sanchez said.

The SkillsUSA Chapter is inviting UNM-Gallup alumni to attend the event to see what the next generation of Lobos is accomplishing. Jarvis and Sanchez also hope that local business people come in order to make connections with potential future employees.

Students who perform well at the state championship and win a gold medal will earn a berth into the national competition.

Kiefer Yazzie, a first-year student at UNM-Gallup, won a gold medal in the customer service category at the high school level in the state championship in 2022.

“It just proves anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Yazzie said. “I know that sounds cliché. I never thought I would win a gold medal. It just means a lot. It's all about confidence. Confidence is key.”

Yazzie then competed at the national competition in Atlanta, but nerves got the better of him. Still, the experience has helped him branch out of his comfort zone.

“Before that, I was kind of an anti-social person,” he said. “I would hardly talk to no one on a daily basis, and it helped me branch out and talk to people. It helped me learn my people skills and open up and be more friendly.”

This year Yazzie will be competing in the customer service category again, but this time at the post-secondary level.

“I know I have what it takes to win again, but it comes to nerves,” he said. “But for the Demo Night, it's going to be exciting. I'm excited to show people how to be a better person and treat people with respect. I'm excited to show the older generation what we're doing.”

The UNM-Gallup SkillsUSA Demonstration Night is free and open to the public. It is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in the Calvin Hall Center Auditorium at the UNM-Gallup campus.

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