CTE Students Develop Skills and Compete for Honors

Following Passions, Gaining Skills, And Unleashing Creativity

The Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department of the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) provides a variety of programs that guarantees students knowledge they need for the workforce.  These CTE programs provide students with opportunities and skills to apply their academic knowledge to real world experiences. Through the CTE programs, students develop essential skills needed for the workplace such as; leadership, teamwork, technical and citizenship skills. This year, Pinnacle High School (PHS) students in these programs competed in competitions for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Senior Brianna Ramey won 1st place competing in the Digital Commercial Photography event in this year’s FBLA State Leadership Conference. At the event, competitors got a prompt with specific guidelines to follow. For this year’s prompt for commercial, participants each showcased a company with a product or service, like an advertisement. They also presented a presentation to the judges, describing the camera settings they used and the photos they took. 

“We presented it to the judges, we had to get all dressed up and they combined the points total from the presentation and the actual photos itself and that’s what they went off of,” said Ramey. 

With a passion for photographing animals and nature, Ramey took photos of reptiles at the Arizona Reptile Center, including a tegu, a yellow crested gecko, a tortoise and an albino Burmese python. Brianna also took a photo of the interior of the store. 

“I wanted to showcase more personalization, like who they are and what they have, and even though they’re not the most well put together store it’s still good to be genuine about it,” Ramey said. 

The competition took place in a virtual setting this year due to the global pandemic, so contestants submitted their photos through a website and presented their presentation through a virtual call to the judges. 

“I liked it virtual because I’m very anxious to talk in front of people,” said Ramey. “If it would’ve been in person then I would have to go up in front of a ton of people and do my full presentation and I don’t think I could’ve done that so I’m really glad I was able to do it on my own.” 

While many students in CTE classes who compete in FBLA and FCCLA competitions consider their work in high school as leading to a career in the various fields, but others take the classes as a fun elective with no career plans. Ramey is one such student, seeing photography as a hobby and takes a strong interest in Biology. 

“I would say this is more of a venue for creativity or just a hobby,” said Ramey. “I do think about minoring in this college, but want to focus more on biology. This is something more like fun. I just really fell in love with [photography class], and my teacher, Mrs. Tomlin, was awesome. I found a lot of friends in that class and it felt like such a welcoming environment and it felt like I could be a part of something while competing.”

Like Ramey, Junior Jack Hanna competed at FBLA, in Publication Design, with his teammates, junior Kevin Martinez and senior Megan Patnode. The team placed 1st in this year’s FBLA State Leadership Conference. In Publication Design, competitors created a business of their own design,  creating advertisements and making a business plan. The team of Hanna, Martinez and Patnode developed a pet food delivery company concept to deliver pet food to customer’s doors every month. To Hanna, working in FBLA provides experiences to help later on in life. 

“It has a lot of business aspects to it. Everyone really needs to know about businesses and how they run. Even though I’m not going into graphic design, I’d say it’s still pretty helpful,” Hanna said. 

He found interest in learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, so Graphic Design and FBLA fit that criteria perfectly. 

“I really liked the class so I took it again next year and then my teacher Mrs. Smith started talking to us about FBLA and asking if we wanted to join,” said Hanna. “I thought it would be pretty interesting and it was stuff I was already interested in so I decided to join and I really liked it.”

While Hanna and Ramey competed in FBLA, Freshman Rebecca Sunshine competed in the cake decorating event at FCCLA, winning second place. For the competition, contestants decorated a styrofoam cake with FCCLA’s logo on top for this year’s theme: FCCLA 75th Anniversary. This competition fueled Sunshine’s passion for cake decorating, leading to a dream of one day opening her own bakery. 

“I started baking with my grandma when I was younger and grew up in the kitchen,” Sunshine said. 

During quarantine, Sunshine created her own business called Sunshine Baked Bites in which she sells cakes, cupcakes and other treats and desserts. 

“I just didn’t have anything else to do,” Sunshine said. “I started an Instagram that gained a lot of popularity, then I just started selling cakes over the summer and it’s been a year now since I started. I’ve just been baking a lot and took it up as a good hobby.”

Thus, being involved in these CTE student organizations have given these three students, and many more, a space to develop their passions while also providing essential skills needed for the future.