Trust, leadership, and team work are the three terms that the Mechatroncis Academy students use to describe the traits that they enhanced as a result of participating in the Region 5 SkillsUSA Regional Leadership Training Conference held at McFatter Technical College in Davie, Florida. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

West Tech students explored careers that involve robotics, engineering, and manufacturing alongside students from Broward and Dade counties. Participating in trust fall exercises and having a voice in selecting the next set of Regional Officers struck a chord of enthusiasm with the attendees. “Working cooperatively in groups and talking with the other participants from Broward and Dade helped us to develop trust in ourselves and others”, shared Alexis Morales with Edwin Alvarez promptly agreeing. Douby Alerte, Mechatroncis Instructor, stated that, “being in the different setting made some of the students uncomfortable in a good way. They were exposed to students from other counties and had to interact with them in ways that challenged them to think critically and cooperatively.”

Upon learning about the various SkillsUSA competitions, O’Jai Bell, enthusiastically stated that, “We will be ready for competition!” West Tech Mechatronics Academy students anticipate participating in Regional Competitions which are held in February in the skill areas of Mobile Robotics, Engineering Technology, and CNC Milling, as well as, select leadership areas such as Employment Application Process, Job Interview, and Prepared Speech. Regional winners are eligible to compete at the State level in Pensacola, FL, in April; State winners are eligible to compete at the National level in Louisville, KY, in June.
On a final note, Derrick Saddler, a quiet and reserved student, told me that he wants all that read this article to know that, “this class gives us two hours to think more outside of the box doing electrical and mechanical work. It gives us a realistic picture of the work we will be doing after we graduate.” To learn more about the Mechatronics Academy and other programming offered at West Technical Education Center, visit our website at or stop by Monday – Thursday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

By Dr. Charlene R. Ford, Principal