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  • Writer's pictureCherise Adams

Beyond the Blazer

The following is series of articles written by me over the month of August 2013 on behalf of the Florida SkillsUSA organization. The series was distributed to an audience of 500+ social media followers and email subscribers within the state, and shared nationally by the organization.


WEEK 1:

For all of you recent high school and post-secondary graduates out there, I bet you're wondering, “Well, I've graduated.. what can SkillsUSA do for me now that it's over?” Trust me, I was thinking the same thing coming out of my high school years. It was then that I reflected on some of the key pillars of our organization and how they can inspire me as I move forward in life.


    One that stuck out to me was the SkillsUSA pledge. The pledge is something that we recited after every chapter meeting. As a state officer and former Opening and Closing Ceremonies competitor, I knew the pledge forward and backward, but it has developed a deeper meaning for me now that I am taking my first strides into the workforce.


During the month of August,  we will break the SkillsUSA pledge down into terms that are relevant to us where we are now..


WEEK 2:

“Upon my honor, I pledge:

To prepare myself by diligent study and ardent practice...”

Apparently this is what we have been doing up until this point, finding a passion and crafting it to perfection. We learned the terms, the technology, and practiced it through hands-on competition.

Reflect this week on the things that you have learned through competing in SkillsUSA competitions that your textbooks could not have shown you. For me, I learned how important psychology is when photographing subjects, and that it takes more than pointing a camera at someone to make them open up to you.


What have you learned about your trade that only hands-on experience can teach you?


WEEK 3:

Throughout the month of August, I will be dissecting the SkillsUSA pledge and explaining its relevance to us as alumni, graduates, and workforce leaders. Last week, we took a look at the first point of the pledge. Let’s take a look at the rest of this sentence and the next.


“...to become a worker whose services will be recognized as honorable by my employer and fellow workers;”

Now that we have worked diligently to perfect our craft in our respective schools, this is what we are called to do now: to enter the workforce with what we know, and work passionately at it for the betterment of our community and society as a whole.


“to base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service;”

Now this may be a little bit harder to do. As skilled workers, our craft is in itself our contribution to society. With everything that we do, make, or teach, our goal should be to do it with love, freely giving of our time, talent, and treasure to society. While monetary reward gives us things, the abundant rewards of service are what truly fuel our lives.


Consider now the people that you have or hope to touch with the results of your work, may it be the joyful face of a customer with a newly repaired vehicle or the confidence of a client when they look in the mirror at their new hairstyle. At my last State Leadership Training Workshop as an active member, an older man from a post-secondary school approached me and told me that my positivity inspired him to take on the challenges of the week, and that moment reminded me of why I took on a leadership position in SkillsUSA, to help better my fellow members. A common phrase states that once you love what you do, you won’t work another day in your life.


Is that true for you in your trade?

What satisfaction have you received from providing great service to a customer?


WEEK 4:

Throughout the month of August, I will be dissecting the SkillsUSA pledge and explaining its relevance to us as alumni, graduates, and workforce leaders. Last week, we took a look at the first half of the pledge and reflected on some of its points. Now, let’s explore the last portion of the pledge.


“to honor and respect my vocation in such a way as to bring repute to myself;”

With every craft comes integrity. As you enter into the workforce, remember to maintain a reputation of right-standing with your colleagues and employers. Work - as stated before - in humble service and with good in mind. Just one negative slip reverse all positive impact that you have made, even after years of work. Do what is right by all means and at all times, respect your talent and yourself, and you will be respected as well.


“And further, to spare no effort in upholding the ideals of SkillsUSA.”

Many of you may be wondering, what are the ideals of SkillsUSA? These are most easily described in our creed: I believe in dignity, I believe in education, I believe in the American way of life, I believe in fair play, I believe in high moral and spiritual standards, and I believe that satisfaction is achieved by good work.


Ponder these in your mind, and align yourself with them in all that you do in the workforce. Remember that not always the most qualified, but the strongest and most driven get promoted. Be the worker that deserves it.


Now that we have taken a look at each individual part of the pledge, let’s look at it from a distance, in its entirety:


“Upon my honor, I pledge: To prepare myself by diligent study and ardent practice to become a worker whose services will be recognized as honorable by my employer and fellow workers; To base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service; To honor and respect my vocation in such a way as to bring repute to myself; And further, to spare no effort in upholding the ideals of SkillsUSA.”


As you move forward out of school and into the workforce, make that a goal in your life, to seek passion in your work, to offer compassion to others, and to prepare yourself - whether fresh from high school or college - to leave a legacy of good work and service. There are so many more wonderful years ahead of you, make the most of them.


From beyond the red blazer,

-Cherise C.

Florida SkillsUSA State President 2011-12


Cherise Clarke is a veteran SkillsUSA competitor and former Florida SkillsUSA state officer. Throughout her four years as an active member in the organization, she has competed at nationals in Photography and Outstanding chapter, and has completed several levels of the Professional Development Program. Her last two years of high school, she served as state Historian, and most recently, Florida state President for the 2011-2012 school year. She credits her love for SkillsUSA and her program area of Commercial Art at Tampa Bay Technical High School for her passion of professional development. Currently, she serves as Florida SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association Executive Secretary while attending school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.

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