Arts & Entertainment

West Orange High School Senior Elected SkillsUSA Vice-President for State of New Jersey

WOHS Senior Rush Garala with SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
The Team at the Capitol. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
 Garala at the SkillsUSA WLTI Conference in September Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School senior Rushiel (“Rush”) Garala has been elected Vice-President of SkillsUSA for the State of New Jersey. WOHS SkillsUSA club is a nationally-based career and technical student organization “that provides service to more than 320,000 high school and college students and professional members enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations.”

Garala will travel to Kentucky in May, 2016, as an Officer for the State of New Jersey for the National SkillsUSA Competition, where 1,000 students are expected to compete in 99 occupational and leadership skill areas.

“SkillsUSA fosters leadership and experience in career fields not only in technology but firefighting and masonry, medical science, culinary, and medical math,” said Nancy Mullin, Supervisor of Career Education and Library Science in the West Orange School District. “Up to 60 vocations are included in the program.”

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“Almost everything can be STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related, and there are 16 career clusters, all with a global need,” Mullin added.

Garala said his enthusiasm for the SkillsUSA program grew after members of the organization visited WOHS in June.

“After the visit from SkillsUSA, I realized how much they had to offer—like leadership opportunities across various fields,” said Garala.

“I ran for office and was elected VP for the State of New Jersey,” Garala said. “I get to travel to other schools in the area to talk about the SkillsUSA program.”

From Sept. 19-23, Garala participated in the Washington D.C. Leadership Training Institute (WTLI), where 271 students from across the country attended leadership seminars, met their local congressmen, and toured portions of the Capitol and its underground tunnel system.

Next, the club will participate in the “Hour of Code” event in December.

The WOHS SkillsUSA Club has grown from five to 25 students. Technology-oriented students can pursue “coding” and “ionic coding interface.” Coding is used to program software, computers, iPhones, and more with color coded words that have specific functions.

“Coding is the language of the future,” said Garala, who plans to study engineering and economics in college.

Club members regularly participate in competitions in their career areas of interest and leadership building.

“I am excited to be part of an organization that empowers students to become all they can be and have opportunities to pursue,” Garala stated.

“SkillsUSA is taking me places I would not have gone to before, and we support each other at every level,” Garala said.

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