Architecture student Thomas Kelly, a member of the Architecture SkillsUSA youth organization at Ben Barber Career & Technology Academy, competed at the SkillsUSA District 4 Competition. Thomas competed in the Architecture Design and in the Innovative Architecture and Construction contest. Thomas won a first-place gold medal for his design project of an amusement park model in the Innovative contest.Thomas will now compete at the SkillsUSA State Competition in March at Corpus Christi. The judges also awarded Thomas’s project the “Best in Show” award. Kelly said that it took him about a year to build the project.Architecture teacher Andrew Almanza had two Architecture Design II students, Kelly and Kaleb Gonzales, who competed in two contests at the competition. Gonzales placed fourth in the Architecture Design contest and competed in the Leadership Interview contest. SkillsUSA Texas is a non-profit youth organization that facilitates Career and Technical Education (CTE). CTE enhances curriculum, and involves all students. Students develop essential skills such as communication, problem solving, and teamwork. Students that participate in SkillsUSA also gain a competitive edge in the college application process as well as the work force. Teachers benefit as well by enhancing their occupational education programs while improving attitudes in the classroom, and gaining local business and industry support and participation. SkillsUSA is a National student organization that works directly with business and industry to maintain American productivity, quality, and competitiveness. Career and Technology Education and many other movements in education and training reform have searched for an elusive but key bridge on how to have an active partnership between public education and private business. SkillsUSA has been that bridge in Texas since 1948 and nationally since 1965. SkillsUSA meet the needs of Corporate America. Through a proven system, that produces quality-trained, well-rounded, entry-level employees.SkillsUSA brings together educators, administrators, Corporate America, labor organizations, trade associations and government. The result is a coordinated effort that addresses America’s need for a globally competitive, educated and skilled work force. In addition, SkillsUSA teaches the importance of developing leadership skills, positive attitudes and pride in workmanship, all skills that will encourage success in academic and corporate life. SkillsUSA Texas prepares students by introducing the corporate culture found in business and industry and the rigors of academic life. SkillsUSA Texas emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, high standards in trade ethics, superior workmanship, and quality and safety. Students active in SkillsUSA are preparing for leadership in the world of work.