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Norwalk Unified SkillsUSA Chapter Brings Home Third Model of Excellence Award

“I’m proud that I’ve accomplished something for my school and for helping make our name known as a nationally celebrated chapter,” Norwalk High senior automotive student Kimberly Sanchez said.

Sanchez, a SkillsUSA member for three years, won first place for collision repair at the 2017 SkillsUSA Region Three Contest.

Norwalk High has earned two previous Model of Excellence Awards, one of only 12 chapters across the nation to do so and the only California school to receive the Model of Excellence Award in 2015.

“Winning the award doesn’t make the Norwalk chapter great; the work we do makes us great,” ROP teacher Ken Cook said. “The award is validation to the students who put in the hard work, and in recognizing student success, more community support and encouragement is the result.”

SkillsUSA’s Chapter of Excellence Program awards chapters that have a strong mission in creating a community impact through their program and projects. Model of Excellence award winners are judged based on criteria that includes technical, personal and workplace skills. Chapters are tasked with creating community service projects that reflect each skill.

Norwalk High built the adaptive bicycle for the technical skill category.

The Norwalk Center Community Garden falls under the personal skills category. Norwalk-La Mirada Unified partnered with the City of Norwalk to build the garden, as well as a local Lowe’s store that provided funds and 10 volunteer landscaping professionals.

The final workplace skill was fulfilled by participating in the 2017 Corvallis Middle School Career Fair. Norwalk High students catered the event out of their community mobile food trailer, created by the automotive student team, known as the Race Team, and operated by the culinary club. Like a food truck without a roof, the mobile trailer functions as a cooking and food preparation space, equipped with a barbecue, fridge and hot water tank.

Norwalk High SkillsUSA members cater Lowe’s functions, college fairs and recently participated in an autism awareness event with their mobile trailer. Due to high demand, the Race Team built a second trailer in 2016 that included a handicap-accessible sink.

“Congratulations to Norwalk High for your state and national recognitions,” Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “Our SkillsUSA teams demonstrate the terrific work our students do throughout all of our schools.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry professionals working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

The Norwalk High chapter will be honored for the Model of Excellence Award at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, held Monday, June 19 through Friday, June 23 in Louisville, Kentucky. The chapter is also eligible to win a $2,000 grant, sponsored by Lowe’s.