Five YUHSD students earn medals in national competitions


YUMA — Throughout the summer, Yuma Union High School District sent more students to national competitions in their respective Career & Technical Student Organization (CTSO) than any previous year. At the conclusion of the events, which spanned the country through much of June, five YUHSD students were named top three finishers, including two national champions.
Kofa High School’s Lilyan Madrid earned a gold medal in Lesson Planning and Delivery for Career & Technical Education (CTE) at the Educators Rising national conference in Orlando, while Cibola High School’s Jesus Torres took home a gold medal in Culinary Arts at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) national conference in Denver.
“Earning first place at nationals feels unbelievable,” Madrid said. “Taking in the moment of actually being at Nationals was enough to show me that I didn’t make it this far to be scared or nervous, but happy that I took this opportunity. Being a first-year Educators Rising student, and placing first at Nationals is insane to think about because it shows me that with the right mind set and dedication, I can set high goals for myself and accomplish them.”
On the same day Madrid was wrapping up her competition in Orlando, Torres was getting started on his journey towards a national championship more than 1,800 miles away in Denver.
“With a purpose and passion, I am filled with gratitude, to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who played a role in my journey to becoming the first-place winner at nationals,” Torres said. “I am grateful to the incredible individuals at Cibola, the CTE program, and Arizona FCCLA, whose support pushed me toward this remarkable achievement. In particular, I want to thank [Cibola Culinary Instructor] Ms. [Tawny] Saldaña. Her dedication and belief in me not only pushed me beyond my limits but also ignited my imagination with new ideas. She gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue something that I never thought was possible. Culinary Arts opened doors I never knew existed, equipping me with a Servsafe certification to enhance my future job prospects and ultimately the first-place win at nationals.”
Overall, 121 YUHSD students attended national conferences for their respective CTSOs, either as competitors or leaders. Below is a list of the students who earned a top-three finish in their event: