Skills USA Goal Medalist


Aileen Resendiz

Kate Ourada from Mountain Ridge High School has won a gold medal at the state Skills USA competition. She competed in the Job Interview category on April 13 at the Phoenix Convention Center.


Skills USA is an organization that prepares students to enter the workforce. It focuses primarily on Career and Technical Education (or CTE) classes, and has competitions nationwide for various categories. Kate Ourada is the president of Mountain Ridge’s Skills USA Digital Communications’ chapter, and although required to compete, she enjoyed the experience.


Since Ourada competed in the Job Interview category, she had to be prepared with résumés and the perfect answers for job interview questions.


“It’s 3 rounds and you have to have 6 résumés prepared ahead of time,” Ourada said. “The first round is secretary impressions or written analysis, so basically you write a résumé on the spot. The second round was a one-on-one interview with five basic questions that they asked every candidate. The third round they call back the top six people, and we do a panel interview with seven panelists and get asked tons of questions.”


With every competition comes preparation, and to win a gold medal comes even more. However, for Ourada, the preparation was, “…only a couple of hours.”


Many high school students have recent experience with job interviews and creating résumés, so she mainly used her own experience to prepare herself for the panelists’ questions. In fact, she wasn’t even expecting to earn a gold medal.


“This was the first time I competed, so not really. I think that actually helped, though, because I wasn’t nervous going into it because I didn’t have any expectations,” Ourada stated.


Winning a gold medal at this competition is something that she can add to her own résumé now. It also made her eligible to compete in the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, but Ourada won’t be attending.


“I would have the chance to go to nationals, but unfortunately it’s really expensive, and won’t be possible,” Ourada said.


Although she won’t advance in competition, she still believes that it was worth it, as it was a great opportunity to practice her interview skills. She feels more confident going into job interviews, and perhaps this could help her on the path towards her dream job.


“The way the competition works is everybody gets to choose their job, so it’s tailored to everybody’s individual skills,” Ourada said. “I want to be a journalist, and head of a newsroom, whether it’s print, broadcast, or radio.”


She would encourage anybody thinking about competing, as there are many different competition categories from welding, to culinary, to other leadership ones like speech and debate. For those who do choose to get involved and compete, she has some words of wisdom.


“Prepare yourself beforehand, but don’t be super anxious about it. Being calm really helps you in the long run if you can do it,” Ourada said.