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TJ students take top spot for emergency skills
Members of the Thomas Jefferson High School Emergency Response and Health Careers program came home state champions, taking the top spot in their first ever attempt. Their championship was part of the Skills USA state competition held in April in Yakima.
Sydney Romero, JC Livie-Brown and Tim Minzer made up the state title team. As part of their tasks, they were required to respond to various medical and rescue situations. Coach Monica Watchie said the trio faced some stiff competition.
“We were competing against fire and nursing academies,” Watchie said. “We didn’t know how we would do at state, but we were light years ahead of everybody.”
Watchie said the kids were “very confident in what they were doing,” and that she was “very proud” of their state championship in their first try.
“They just knocked it out,” said Watchie, a veteran firefighter and first responder herself.
Outside of the state competition, TJ’s team also competed in a regional contest, Watchie said, and took the top five spots in that competition as well. Because of that strong showing, Watchie said TJ’s program was awarded a number of sponsorships to EMT school.
TJ’s Emergency Response and Health Careers program is the only of its kind in the state, according to Watchie.
The TJ website for the program shows students engaged in a variety of activities, including major disaster preparation and simulations.
Skills USA itself is a national organization that serves students who are preparing for a career in a skilled trade, technical or vocational field. Over 285,000 students and instructors take part in Skills USA annually. More information on Skills USA can be found at www.skillsusa.org. For information on the TJ Emergency Response and Health Careers program, visit www.schools.fwps.org/tj.