KANSAS CITY, MO. — Newtown resident Adell Mastro returned to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference for the third time this year, with a competition quilt in hand. And for the third consecutive year, Ms Mastro returned home knowing that her handiwork earned the largest amount of money to support SkillsUSA through the annual conference auction.
The national organization, which partners students, teachers and industry leaders to prepare students for trade job industries, serves more than 264,500 high school and college students as well as professional members enrolled in training programs. The 2013 conference offered 98 competitions, drawing just shy of 6,000 competitors.
“It was the largest conference they’ve had so far,” Ms Mastro said of the June 24-28 event. The national conference follows state competitions held each spring.
“Nationals is the best of the best,” she said.
Ms Mastro’s quilt this year was called “Finding Your Way.” Its theme was tools, and each square had to do with “various tools or trade organizations,” she said. A mariner’s compass was the focal point of the front of the piece, which also included a lot of red, white and blue.
Dedicated to 12/14, the back of the quilt featured a pattern with six hearts surrounded by another 20 hearts. A dedication square on the work included notes about using a compass to find one’s way, “whether to go home or on an adventure,” Ms Mastro explained. A green and white ribbon was pinned to the dedication square.
The quilt was purchased by the same woman from Texas who has won Ms Mastro’s quilts through auction the past two years. In 2012, her quilt drew an $875 winning bid. Two years ago, a quilt she created with students from Henry Abbot Technical High School in Danbury, reaped $700 at auction, all of which benefits the youth who work at the event.
“The money raised through the quilt’s sale [and other auction items] is used to pay for the students’ meals, hotel and other expenses,” said Ms Mastro.
The auction is held on the final day of the conference, and leads into the annual awards conference.
SkillsUSA’s programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. Programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the classroom.