LEHI -- Students in Alpine School District began their summer vacation May 30.
But for 37 members of Lehi High School’s SkillsUSA team, there’s been little time for lazy summer days.
The high school students participated in a statewide SkillsUSA competition and won the opportunity to present their projects at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City beginning Monday and running through June 27.
Chris Griesemer, the team's advisor, said since advancing from the state competition his students have been busy reworking their presentations and trying to incorporate judges’ feedback.
“Even though it’s summer, we had teams working at the school until 7:30 last night. They stripped their projects back to basics and started fresh,” Griesemer said.
SkillsUSA is a national organization that strives to help prepare students for future success in employment by teaching career and technical skills as varied as manufacturing technology and robotics, health care, culinary arts, hospitality and television production.
In addition to hands-on classes, the SkillsUSA program also focuses on citizenship by requiring each chapter to plan and perform community service projects.
Haley Freeman, a recently graduated senior, is competing for the American Spirit award. Freeman, Jakell Larson and Brynn Christenson proposed building a veteran’s memorial monument in the city.
“We would like to have a statue for each branch of the military along a pathway in the new Peck Park," Freeman said.
Jakell’s father is a veteran. Griesemer said his student had visited several national service monuments and wanted Lehi to have something on that scale to honor local servicemen.
Freeman said working on the project has pushed her out of her comfort zone.
“We’ve had to ask for donations from local business and make a presentation to the City Council," she said. "It felt like ripping off a Band-Aid -- hard, but I’m glad we did it. The mayor even gave me a hug afterward.
"This is a big job; we’ve only collected a few thousand. We need to raise over $250,000. We’re starting the project, and students who come after us will continue to work on it. I’m hoping it’s done in 10 years.”
Lehi High has the largest SkillsUSA program in the state.
“SkillsUSA creates champions," Griesemer said. "It teaches kids to take pride in their work, use the skill we learn in class and encourages them to do more than get a job. They’re looking for careers.”
Donations for the SkillsUSA American Spirit Project can be made to The Alpine Foundation and are tax deductible.