Antelope Valley Union High School District

Antelope Valley High School District Students Win National Medals

Three Antelope Valley Union High School District SkillsUSA student teams won medals at a national competition earlier this year where more than 6,000 students competed in 100 occupational and leadership skill areas. As part of SkillsUSA clubs, the teams devote time outside of the regular school day to develop learning-based projects that benefit their school, industry or community and showcase a focus on career preparation.

One Palmdale High School team took home the gold medal by creating an underground, telescopic fire hydrant that could prevent water spillage from a typical fire hydrant. Team members included eleventh-grade students Jamie Grutzius, Carlos Sandoval and Wiebe Jack. A second Palmdale High School team won the bronze medal for creating water main leak sensors that would detect underground water leaks, also serving as a conservation measure. Team members included tenth-grade students Hector Calderon, Danielle Adili and eleventh-grade student Sebastian Axelsen. Both Palmdale teams competed in the SkillsUSA STEM Career Pathways Showcase with an emphasis in construction and engineering.

The Academies of the Antelope Valley/Virtual Academy team won the silver medal by developing an app for grades K-5 that teach students about the effects of illegal dumping, a growing local issue. The app is expected to be published this year on Apple iBooks. Team members included eleventh-grade student Thomas Levy and now alumni Johnny Carr and Guadalupe Pelayo. The team competed in SkillsUSA’s Arts, Audiovisual Technology and Communications Career Pathways Showcase with an emphasis in computer science and design.

SkillsUSA is a partnership between students, teachers and industry representatives who work together to ensure students are prepared for careers and leadership in technical, skilled and service occupations including health careers. The organization serves more than 300,000 students through 13,000 school chapters nationwide. For more information visit