Students involved with the Robstown High School Career and Technical Education SkillsUSA program are taking their talents to the national stage.

Two different areas of the RHS SkillsUSA program - building trades and automotive - will be heading to national competition after dominating recent state events. In the automotive class, Alice Pina will be the only member of that group to represent the State of Texas in Kansas City, Mo. at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference, which will be held from June 20-25.

Pina won first place at the state SkillsUSA conference in early April after she successfully demonstrated how to service an automotive air cleaner assembly.

In the building trades class, students Robert Silguero, Stephen Limones, Matthew Limones, Jesse Garcia, Mario Romero, Jasmine Pina, Alexandria De Leon and Lucero Martinez will be traveling to Kansas City to represent their school and the state.

Building trades students constructed an old-fashioned telephone booth made almost entirely out of wood to win their state meet in early April. Each of the structure's panels took students three days to carve out, with the entire booth being constructed in about six weeks.

To round out the structure was an old-style payphone, which was the original inspiration for the structure, in addition to multiple LCD video screens installed on the outside of the phone booth. The wiring is hidden behind the wooden panels, allowing for the appearance of a seamless blend of past and present technology.

Students spent about 180 hours on the project, said Building Trades Teacher Hector Martinez.

Mario Romero, also a senior, said he was glad to see the project earn the group a ticket to Kansas City, particularly since it was a goal they had all set for themselves at the beginning of the school year.

"We wanted something that was challenging and would take us to nationals," he said.

Martinez said he had high hopes for his group once they arrive to their competition in June.

"I think they have a good chance," he said.