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Vargas earns state title in welding

Juan Vargas has a lot to be excited about.

The high school junior earned second place in the Skills USA state welding competition held March 29 in Corpus Christi.

“He demonstrated several different welding positions and constructed a cube and used different welds,” Kenny Barnes, welding instructor at Stilwell Technical Center, said.

Barnes is extremely proud of his student, especially since this is Vargas’ first year in the class.

“One day, when you cross a bridge or visit a tall building, the welding will probably be done by Juan,” he added with pride.

Vargas also took a written test and presented a resume as part of the competition and competed with about 300 students from across the state.

The student received a silver medal and a trophy plus a specially designed, state-of-the-art welding helmet valued at $500.

“I asked him if he was going to use the helmet in class and he said no, he will keep it at home as a souvenir,” he said.

The quiet student was in class at the school when he was interviewed for the article. When asked how he feels knowing he is Barnes’ first student to place so high in state, he answered shyly, “it feels real good.”

Juan Vargas is the son of Rosalina Contreras and Justo Vargas of Groves.

The Skills USA competition promotes leadership and individual skills for high school students, Barnes said.

State qualifiers for STC Business Professionals of America attended the State Leadership Conference earlier in the year and also found success.

Junior students Elizabeth Medina, Candi Saucedo, Gloria Barragan and Jasmine Adams competed in the Administrative Support Team event. Senior BPA students DeAnderea Oliver and Roeisha Kincade qualified for National Competition to be held in New York, New York May 9-13. DeAndrea Oliver placed third in Advanced Interview Skills and Roeisha Kincade placed second in Basic Office Systems and Procedures.