Students test knowledge, job-finding skills

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Sparks fly as students work during the Native Skills competition at Chinle High School on April 6.


Sierra Begaye killed it in her interview for a nursing position.

When asked what she had been doing to prepare for the interview Begaye, a senior at Window Rock High School, said she had a professional in her corner.

“I’ve been working with a nurse from the ER, and she’s been sharing her skills,” she told Mildred Garcia, an RN from Tuba City.

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Piñon Eagles Brian Denny, left, Jarrett Barton and Enrique Segay check a structure they built for the Native Skills competition at Chinle High School on April 6.

The Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education, a Joint Technological Education District in Arizona, included interviews, a written test, and trade skill tests as part of a trade skills competition on April 6.

To enter the 14th Annual Skills NATIVE Competition at Chinle High School, students had to submit a cover letter, job application and resume.

Garcia, a clinical instructor at Greyhills Academy High School who judged at the competition, explained that judges who might be from the same school as a student would switch out if they came across a student from their school at the interview. To maintain objectivity, judges from a certain school didn’t judge or interview students from that school.

Shauntel Thomas, a senior from Ganado High School, completed her interview before Begaye and said her interviewer paid close attention to detail.

“She made it like a real interview,” Thomas said.

Chinle High School, Ganado High School, Pinon High School, Monument Valley High School, Red Mesa High School, Tuba City High School, Valley High School, and Window Rock High School – all schools of the NATIVE district – participated in the competition that day.

Students participating in the competition wear number badges and not their names or schools.

“They’re not supposed to know our name or what school we go to, so they give us this,” Thomas said, as she held up her badge.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at