Texas SkillsUSA held its opening ceremony for the 14th annual District 12 Conference at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on Monday. The conference brought more than 250 high school juniors and seniors together from Corpus Christi, Laredo, Eagle Pass, Mathis, Kingsville, Alice, Robstown and Victoria.

High school senior Sarah Ann Sanchez, president residing over District 12, called the meeting to order, sending the members and future leaders off to attend several workshops focusing on different qualities of leadership.

“(Texas) SkillsUSA is a program for students; to inspire them to become leaders in the working world,” Sanchez said. “So as leaders right now, it inspires us to grow into the industry.”

Texas SkillsUSA is a non-profit youth organization involving nearly 15,500 student and professional members who are enrolled in high school trade and industrial programs. The non-profit facilitates trade and industrial education and guides students to focus on the qualities and skills that are essential as they enter the working world.

Robstown High School senior Danielle Ramirez looks to gain knowledge and leadership skills from the Texas SkillsUSA program.

“I hope to use it in my everyday life,” Ramirez said. “If I ever get a job that involves leadership, I hope to have learned to have the skills to do that.”

The program also brings together educators, administrators, and leaders from corporate and industrial America to address the need for a globally competitive, educated, and skilled workforce in the United States.

But for now, Robstown High School senior Anissa Villarreal is focusing on continuing on with school, hoping the program will guide her to have the confidence and to be prepared for leadership in her school, her community, and beyond.”

“I just want to be able to help people and lead them,” Villarreal said.