by Nathan Bass

For years, Stuart has graduated work-ready students through the Skills USA chapter. Skills USA is an organization designed to give students “real world” skills, by teaching technical jobs that can be directly applied to careers. There are over 300,000 students across 1,300 school chapters who participate in the club, with more joining every year.

Junior Abby Conde is Stuart’s Skills USA president and is VA’s Region 1 vice president. Conde won the gold medal in ‘extemporaneous speaking’ at the District 5 event.

This form of speaking is when a prompt is given, and the competitor immediately must speak on it- with no time to prepare.

When Conde won districts she won an automatic bid for states, however she declined the offer, Skills USA rules state that an officer cannot compete in a state competition. She said it was a tough decision but “Running to be an officer is the greatest competition there is,” said Conde.

On April 17-18, Conde attended the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia for the Skills USA Virginia state leadership conference. The conference exhibited more than a thousand career jobs including plumbing, nursing and public speaking. This is where she won her Region 1 vice presidency seat.

In late June, Conde will be traveling to Kentucky for the national Skills USA conference.

In order to become an officer at any level, there is a campaign process. At the regional level the candidates are given $100 to create a presentation for why they deserve to be an officer. In June, when Conde will be running at a national officer level, she has $350 to use; this money is for supplies and other expenses. At the convention, the candidates will be voted on by delegates, the current skills USA officers.

“Abby is on, meaning when she is up on stage her knowledge and her poise- I can’t explain it- its magical and the delegates will know that,” said Kallie Forman, Abby’s Skills USA sponsor, she went on “I give her a very high chance of winning. It is very competitive, and it’s even more exciting.” 

courtesy photo