Earlier this spring, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School senior Evan Barnes earned a Gold Medal ranking in the Information Technology Services competition at the SkillsUSA Texas Leadership and Skills Conference. He also qualified for a spot in the national competition this summer. This week, Barnes was honored by the Spring ISD Board of Trustees with a Point of Pride award from the district in recognition of his accomplishments before he goes on to represent Wunsche and Spring ISD at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.
“During his junior year, Evan placed at the Silver level in Computer Technical Applications and IT Quiz Bowl, advancing to state, but the competition was cancelled due to COVID,” said Cynthia Williams, Spring ISD’s director of Career and Technical Education (CTE), during her remarks to trustees. “This year, Evan competed in Cybersecurity and Information Technology Services, placing Gold in both competitions, advancing to the national level. Evan will be participating in the national virtual competition for Information Technology on June 15.”
As Williams explained, the SkillsUSA program and its various regional and national-level competition events serve as a valuable complement to the district’s own diverse range of CTE offerings, which help students connect their studies in school directly to their future career interests.
“SkillsUSA provides educational programs, events, and competitions that support career and technical education in the classroom,” said Williams. “The skills championships are career competition events showcasing the best CTE students in the nation. The contests begin locally and then they continue to the state and the national levels.”
In addition to his participation in SkillsUSA, Barnes has also been active as a member of the Texas Technology Student Association, and has made good use of his time and the resources available to him at Wunsche to earn a number of industry-recognized certifications, including TestOut Security Pro, PC Pro and Network Pro; OSHA 30; CPR; and NRF Customer Service.
“Thank you all for inviting me here and giving me the honor to speak to all of you, and thank you for appreciating my accomplishment. It means a lot to me,” Barnes told the trustees. He went on to thank Wunsche staff members, the school’s leadership, and all those who had supported him in the competition.
Asked by Trustee Dr. Deborah Jensen what inspired him to get involved in the SkillsUSA competitions, Barnes said he had been encouraged by his teachers and CTE pathway advisors at Wunsche, who told him that signing up and participating would benefit his knowledge, skills and career readiness.
“And I’m very glad I did,” Barnes said, “because they were very helpful opportunities and I wouldn’t have traded them for anything in the world.”
Also joining in for the virtual presentation during the board meeting was Wunsche Principal Dr. Alfred James, who congratulated Barnes and thanked him for representing the campus and the district so well.
“You’re one of the reasons why we continue to be a school of choice,” James said, “and we want our district to be a district of choice, so keep doing great things and keep moving forward. Congratulations.”
During her presentation, Williams also emphasized the important role of campus teachers and administrators in supporting students enrolled in the district’s CTE programs.
“I would like to acknowledge his Computer Technology Pathway teacher, Ms. Lisa Evans; his SkillsUSA sponsor, Ms. Bonnie Lovett; and of course Dr. James, the Wunsche principal,” Williams said.
Once the national SkillsUSA competition wraps up later in June, the focus will shift to college for Barnes, who will continue his STEM studies this fall as a freshman at Houston Baptist University, majoring in electrical engineering.