Department: Success Story

Alexis, Debra and John Newman

For the Newman family of Topeka, Kan., the Washburn Institute of Technology is like a second home. Debra Garcia-Newman followed her husband and children through its doors. The culinary arts student competed in Restaurant Service at the SkillsUSA Championships. She’s married to John Newman, who advanced to the state competition in Collision Repair Technology. He…
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Alex Abrahantes

Alex Abrahantes

There are so many people out there who are dream stealers,” says Alex Abrahantes. “I’m living proof that — and this is a quote I came up with in SkillsUSA — ‘if you dream, you can achieve, if you believe.’ ” If that sounds a little doubtful, don’t tell Abrahantes. It’s probably not a good…
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Alanna Ojibway

Most of us would be moved by a documentary like “Invisible Children,” about tens of thousands of children who hide in the night to escape being killed or abducted by rebels in northern Uganda. High school student Alanna Ojibway sprang into action. “What struck me is this population of children who are being left unnoticed,”…
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Alan Gomez

Executive Director Tim Lawrence had just delivered a presentation on SkillsUSA to industry, education and government leaders at a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education conference in Arlington, Va. An audience member was about to add an unexpected exclamation point to the message. “People were nodding their heads,” Alan Gomez recalls the panel discussion, sponsored…
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Ahmad Shawwal

It’s always the quiet ones who surprise you. Nobody who knew Ahmad Shawwal in elementary or middle school would have imagined the shy immigrant would represent his school as a student leader, much less the whole country in an international broadcast. Maybe it’s true that still waters run deep. Shawwal’s story began with his family…
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Alex Adkisson

To say Alex Adkisson didn’t like school as a child would be an understatement. His dislike was so intense that if he was in the car with his parents, he wouldn’t even look at the school as they drove by it. “I can remember despising it so much, even in kindergarten,” Adkisson says. “I’d just…
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