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Local Student Heads For State Contest
Matthew Gery of Oakdale, who attends Valley Charter High School, will compete in Computer Applications at an upcoming SkillsUSA state contest in San Diego. - photo by Photo Contributed

Oakdale resident and Valley Charter High School (VCHS) student Matthew Gery won a gold medal recently at the SkillsUSA California Region 5 Leadership and Skills Conference and will compete at the state contest in San Diego April 4-7.

There are different competitions and levels in SkillsUSA. Gery participated in one occupational competition and several leadership competitions. Gery took gold in the occupational competition for Technical Computer Applications. It included showing proficiency in e-mail, spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, online use, open source, and commercial programs. He is also a SkillsUSA officer in his local chapter and competed as part of a team of four in Opening and Closing Ceremonies for officers, and earned a silver at the conference.

VCHS in Modesto is an early college high school. Gery, a sophomore at the high school, also takes a class at Modesto Junior College. The college classes are typically only allowed for juniors and seniors at the early college high school, but Gery is permitted to take a class. Last semester he took a PE golf class but this semester he’s taking a speech course at MJC. VCHS students do not pay tuition for MJC classes, just the health and activity fees and textbooks.

Gery’s parents enrolled him in the early college high school because they felt it was the best environment for him and provides him with the direction he needs, as there is a better teacher-to-student ratio, individual educational goals, and the chance to gain more real-life employability skills.

According to its website, SkillsUSA prepares students for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. It shows students the connection between classroom instruction and real-world application.