Focus, teamwork, obstacles: CTE students compete in Performance-Based Assesments


By Danielle Smith
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(Photo courtesy of Erin Ohta (11)) (L-R): Kyle Fujita (12) and Scott Alquisa (12), and Erin Ohta (11) and Tyler Lacroix (12) won third and first place, respectively.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) students put their skills to the test by participating in the Performance-Based Assessments (PBA) on April 5 and 6 in Waikiki. This two- day event hosted high school students from around the island, with MHS competing in eight different divisions. Through the 15-hour workdays, students explored new skills, gained experiences in the technical industries and heightened their understanding of teamwork.

“Having the students have these work sessions and go in without being told what to do or being guided by their teacher, they really show a level of maturity,” CTE Coordinator Sheila Ann Dagarag said. “They are totally engaged in what they are doing and they’re completely focused on getting their projects done.”

Although students were given a small amount of time to create and complete a project, most had no problem in managing their time wisely. “We had to jot down our ideas and what we wanted, and we had to go out and get our footage. It then took us about two to three hours to edit the video. It was really time consuming, plus we had to make the memes which took a whole ‘nother hour. Then came a slideshow presentation and by then we already used up 12 hours,” said Junior Erin Ohta, who won first in the Digital Media Program of Study along with her teammate Senior Tyler Lacroix.

Working to persevere through the challenges presented to them, students used the help of their teammates and their own experiences. “For me, I’m not a good speaker. So when we had to present our project, I was super nervous. But (Lacroix) got me through that. He helped me relax and gave me advice to calm me down and prepare me,” Ohta expressed. Senior Nalani Garland, who participated in the Design Technology Program of Study, added, “It definitely helped to have a partner because you could multitask. You could work on one thing while your partner could work on a draft or vice versa.”

Students explored a variety of skills throughout their experience in the event. “Problem solving was definitely one of them. You don’t have a lot of time to think about what you want to make, and within 30 minutes or something you have to have thought of everything you need and everything you want,” Ohta said. Dagarag added, “Not only do they have to make sure they have enough time, but they need to know that they need to keep themselves and get themselves ready, be where they need to on time.”

Without much preparation beforehand, the PBA presented a very new and unique process for many of the students that attended. “We did not find out what we would be doing until the day of the competition. Then we spent 16 hours in front of a computer and it was very stressful. This was my first year doing this and I thought that a whole day would be plenty of time to do the project but we ended up working on it until the very last minute,” Garland said.

After two days of constant working, the students’ hard work paid off when the teams placed first in Engineering, second in Design Technology and first and third in Digital Media. “I’m grateful that we won. I’m still unsure about it, but I was really confident in me and (Lacroix), I wasn’t sure that we would place first but I’m just really grateful that we had that opportunity to compete and we got to win first,” Ohta said.

While this was the last statewide PBA, the assessments will still continue within the individual schools. Meanwhile, the participants  hope to take the skills and newfound experiences with them as some graduate and enter the business world.