Rock Bend ALC Skills Competitors

(ABOVE) Rock Bend ALC students who earned awards at the 2023 Regional Work Skills Competition included (l to r), Sati Mesa, Donavyn Logan, Leah Zarn, and Alejandra Westra-Smith.

Rock Bend Area Learning Center students were recently awarded top scores in the 2023 Regional Work Skills Competition. The Work Skills Competition, presented by the Mankato Area Community Transition Interagency Committee, is an annual event for high school students to showcase their application, interviewing and problem solving skills. This year's competition was held at South Central College with more than 120 students competing from 11 area school districts. 

Students compete in four areas: problem solving, general workplace knowledge, applications and interviewing. Over forty local business owners and professionals   volunteered as judges to provide feedback and rate students on their professional appearance, thoughtfulness of interview answers, confidence and tone. 

This year, nine students from Rock Bend participated, with six placing in the top 15. Alli Westra-Smith, senior, received the top score at the event and received a Grand Champion plaque. Aiden Moreno, junior, was awarded third place and a bronze medal. Other Rock Bend award recipients included Emily Acevedo, Sati Mesa, Donavyn Logan and Leah Zarn.

Rock Bend students prepared for the Work Skills Competition with support from Ben Winkels, Work Seminar teacher. 

Through our Work Seminar course, students have the opportunity to learn and have open dialogue about how to be competitively employed,” Winkels said. “I credit their success to the professional conversations they had with the interviewers and judges, and presenting themselves in a professional manner.”

While Winkels served as a judge at the event, Rock Bend students were accompanied by Rock Bend math teacher Heidi Niemeyer and paraprofessional Tom Wolfe. Mrs. Niemeyer had great things to say about the students and event, and she was honored to accompany them there, 

“The students all did things that took them out of their comfort zone,” Niemeyer said. “The valuable insights gained during this event will be useful when they compete in real life for employment opportunities.”