CTE Competitions

Two Rancho Students Win 1st Place at Cypress College Auto Skills Challenge

March 2023

On March 1, Cypress College hosted its Automotive Skills Challenge and Career Fair event for local high school students to learn about future careers in the automotive industry. More than 250 high school students from six area schools participated in activities and networking opportunities with professional organizations. The event included hands-on competitions in Brake Diagnosis, Precision Measurement, Electronic System Failure Diagnosis, Dynamic Tire Balancing, Wheel Alignment Diagnosis, and Engine Performance Diagnosis. Rancho seniors in the automotive pathway, Damian Garza and Angel Beltran, placed 1st, and took home trophies along with one for Mr. David Le to display in the auto shop class. “The event provided a fantastic opportunity for students to explore career paths beyond automotive technology while cheering on their classmates as they pushed themselves to the limit in technical skills,” Dean Margaret Fernandez said. “We are proud to have played a part in exposing our students to new and exciting career possibilities. We look forward to providing them opportunities to grow and learn.”

Three GGUSD High School Culinary Teams Win at Cooking Up Change

March 2023

Culinary arts pathway students from three Garden Grove USD high schools competed at the 2023 Cooking Up Change event in Anaheim. These students worked hard and applied their technical skills, creativity, teamwork, and expertise to come out winners! Congrats to the first place team from Garden Grove HS, the 3rd place team from Bolsa Grande HS, and the audience choice award winners from Los Amigos HS. Cooking up Change challenges high school culinary students to create healthy, delicious meals that meet the real-life requirement of the national school lunch program — and taste great to their classmates.

Garden Grove HS Computer Science Students Win Prestigious Congressional App Challenge

February 2023
Rep. Jose “Lou” Correa has named Jessica Nguyen, Henry Vu, and Jasmine Chau of Garden Grove High School as the winners of the Congressional App Challenge in California’s 46th District. Computer Science Pathway teacher Eric Henninger will chaperone the team to Washington, D.C. in April to showcase their app, MnewNote, to Congress at the #HouseOfCode event! The Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious prize in student computer science. This Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records: 9,011 students registered for the 2022 competition.
Check out their winning app! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_yvuLVEI-8

La Quinta HOSA Students Score at the International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee

June 2022

Ten La Quinta High School students went to the 2022 HOSA-Future Health Professionals International Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on June 21; these students qualified by placing top 5 in the State competitions in March. At the conference, students competed in CPR/First Aid, Community Emergency Response Teams and Forensics. All LQHS students made it to Round 2 of the competitions, with two, Anna Le and Casey Tran, winning 2nd overall in the CPR/First Aid event. HOSA is a CTSO for the CTE sector of Health Science and Medical Technology. At La Quinta High School students participate through the Biotechnology pathway which includes 2 CTE and 2 academy courses offering dual credit with Coastline College. Students deepen their experience through the CTE supported HOSA program led by Advisor and CTE teacher Sarah Forguson. Ms. Forguson was cheering her students on remotely as she was delivering her daughter during this event! Principal Adrian Lucero acted as lead chaperone and is proud of his students' dedication and hard work.

Culinary Students Win Big at Cooking Up Change 

April 2022

Culinary Arts students from Bolsa Grande, Los Amigos, and Rancho Alamitos High Schools competed in Southern California's "Cooking Up Change" competition on April 28. The Bolsa Grande team won 1st place for their Crispy Korean Chicken Sandwich, roast vegetable mashed potatoes and ginger pear salad, with each student winning a $1,000 prize and a set of professional cookware. Miguel Garcia, Autumn Scott, and Manuel Villalva have been developing their cooking and baking skills under the instruction of teachers Caren Fontes and Therese Villalobos. The Rancho team won 2nd place, with each team member taking home a $600 prize and stainless steel bowls for their Kalua Pork Hawaiian Bowl, Potato Mac Salad, and Peach Yogurt Parfait. 

Cooking up Change® is a program that challenges high school students to create healthy, tasty meals that meet the requirements of the national school meal program.  In collaboration with culinary instructors, chef mentors and community partners, students gain knowledge in careers as a chef or in the field of nutrition sciences. Each student team is challenged to create a new lunch menu following the high standards school food service professionals face everyday, including: utilizing only ingredients commonly found in a school cafeteria, a budget of $1.50 per serving, all while making it creative, great tasting and nutritious. Each team presented their meal to an esteemed panel of judges and were rated on originality, taste, appearance and presentation. The competition serves up life changing opportunities for students to transform the school lunch menu and to engage in culinary, nutrition, and food science career pathways. To view the original recipes, click here.

HOSA Teams from La Quinta and Pacifica Excel at State Leadership Conference

March 2022

La Quinta HOSA Medalists

Pacifica HOSA Chapter with Advisor Stacey Burg (far right)

The Cal-HOSA State Leadership Conference was held March 24-26 in Long Beach where chapters from La Quinta and Pacifica High Schools joined fellow future health professionals from across California to experience this prestigious Career Technical Student Organization at its best. Over 4,000 student members, chapter advisors, and industry partners came together for inspirational speakers, leadership workshops, professional development, career guidance, technical skill development, and the opportunity to compete in a variety of event categories. 

Eighteen La Quinta students who showcased their talents in competitive events placed in the top 5 in the State and ten ranked in the top 3! These ten students now qualify for the International Competition to be held in Nashville, TN in June. La Quinta students swept the Community Emergency Response Team competition, taking up the top 5 spots: 1st place gold winners were Albert Nguyen, Natalie Nguyen; 2nd place silver winners were Vicky Pham and Vina Pham; and 3rd place bronze winners were Sophia Nguyen and Jessica Nguyen. For the CPR/First Aid competition: 1st place gold winners were Anna Le and Casey Tran. For the Forensic Science event, Nathan Le and Emily Ha won 1st place gold.

La Quinta Team with Advisor Sarah Forguson (far left)
At the Be the Match® workshop, Pacifica advisor, Stacey Burg, shared her first-hand testimonial of this bone marrow registry program. HOSA students in attendance learned how the organization finds life-saving donors and provides patient support throughout the transplant process. Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, saved Ms. Burg’s life to defeat cancer.

Garden Grove USD's CTE department is so proud of our advisors' and students' dedication, engagement, and pride as well as their achievements at this year's event. 


                                                  Four Garden Grove High School Computer Science Students                                                    Win Congressional App Challenge for District 46

February 2022

A talented team of ICT Pathway students at Garden Grove High School recently won the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for Congressional District 46, led by Rep. Lou Correa, that includes the communities of Anaheim and Santa Ana, as well as parts of Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Orange. The Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious prize in student computer science, with participation growing exponentially since it launched six years ago. Joanne Tran, Justin Pham, Eric Ly, and Derek Nguyen (pictured above, left-right), who all have taken both AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A with Mr. Eric Henninger, worked as a team to create an original app called "Realms: Health." Realms Health is designed to serve as an ecosystem that allows users to connect with their communities and provides for their medical needs by connecting to live chats with doctors, directions to nearby hospitals, and reminders for prescribed medications. Through a series of quick clicks, users also obtain access to innovative, body-pain identifiers and find information about any health and wellness issues that they may have. The app also lets users create their own account to access exam and lab results, check medical records, and update their account settings with ease. For more information, visit: The Congressional App Challenge. The dedicated Argos have made their program, high school, district, and CTE department so proud of their innovation and teamwork!


La Quinta High School HOSA Students Excel at State Competition: One Team Earns Top Rank at International Event

Summer 2021

LQ HOSA Future Health Professionals has only existed for two and a half years as a chapter at La Quinta High School.  In that time the club has competed at the State Conference twice in various health professions competitive events. During the second year of the club's existence the pandemic caused a cancellation of the event only a month prior to the competition, even though 20 out of 46 competing students had made it to round 2. The students were devastated but kept their perseverance alive for the next year's 2021 competition. 

As the pandemic progressed the students found out the competition would be virtual and amidst the chaos that was the pandemic, personal struggles, online virtual learning from home, and adjusting to the isolating experience of quarantine, the students rallied together and showed up to Friday afternoon student-led study sessions to prepare. Every Friday, the forty six competitors showed up on zoom to study and all 46 were successful in making it to round 2 of the state competition. Of those 46 we had 11 students place in the top 4 in the state. Nine of these students were in the top 3 and moved on to the International Conference and competition. This was already such an incredible feat for the club!
June 23rd-27th the International Conference took place in a virtual format with around 10,000 of the top HOSA students from around the world participating. The nine qualified students competed and one team made it to the final round of competition. At the Grand Awards Ceremony on the last day of the conference, Casey Tran and Anna Le, were announced as the International Champions, earning the top spot in the world for the event of CPR/First Aid! This is all due to the teamwork, perseverance, and support of the entire club and the incredible hard work of these two students! We are so proud of our LQ HOSA students and their tireless efforts and amazing success! We can't wait to see what the future holds.

GGUSD Students Excel at SkillsUSA Regional Competitions: Advance to State Level in April

February 2020

More than 60 student members of SkillsUSA from Bolsa Grande, Garden Grove, Rancho Alamitos, and Santiago High Schools; and Doig, Jordan, and Ralston Intermediate Schools spent Saturday, February 1st in Riverside competing at the Region 6 contests dressed in their finest club attire after months of honing and practicing their CTE sector knowledge and technical skills with their CTE instructors and club advisors. Region 6 included middle school, high school, and college chapters from seven counties in Southern California.

Garden Grove HS student Jennifer Vergara-Munoz won a gold medal, placing first in the culinary arts competition. Her fellow GGHS student Daniel Rascol earned a bronze medal, placing third in the same contest. Jair Monroy, a GGHS medical pathway student, won a silver medal for placing 2nd in the First Aid/CPR contest.

Santiago HS student Stephanie Camacho won a gold medal for placing first in the interview contest, while her fellow SHS students Daniel Olmeda and Dylan Pacheco won silver for placing 2nd in the Digital Cinema contest. Meanwhile, SHS student Aimee Andrade won bronze and Jessica Delgado won 4th place in the elevator pitch contest.

Jordan Intermediate students Andrew Huynh, Jasmine Chau, Merejilda Penaloza, Arlene Nguyen, and Kevin Tran took home five gold medals for the Quiz Bowl competition, and Citlaly Ortega won gold for the elevator pitch. Ralston Intermediate students Manuel Calderon, Hung Mac, and Joshua De La Paz won silver medals for the Team Engineering Challenge, while Doig Intermediate students Matthew Nguyen, Jair Barerra, and Luis Rodriguez earned gold in the same contest.

All of the aforementioned winners, as well as other GGUSD student teams who have qualified, advance to the State level competition April 16-19 in Ontario. The students, advisors, and instructors are proud that their amazing efforts, energy, and dedication have earned them such recognition at the regional level and are confident that they will be successful in the state-level challenges ahead.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving middle school, high school and college students in Career and Technical Education pathways. SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class leaders and responsible citizens. Each chapter develops students' teamwork and leadership skills through a framework model that include personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in rigorous academics.


Business Students Excel at Virtual Enterprise Los Angeles Area Conference & Exhibition
February 19, 2019
Pasadena Convention Center

Business pathway students from Garden Grove, Pacifica, and Rancho Alamitos high schools competed along with 1,600 students from 430 schools across the country in an intense, secondary school version of “Shark Tank.”

The students develop and run virtual businesses from their classrooms and compete in a variety of categories showcasing their fiscal, sales, marketing, innovation, and management skills. Virtual Enterprises is an international nonprofit that annually provides more than 15,000 students with the opportunity to create and run virtual business ventures.

Dressed in professional attire, the students created exhibition booths to display their products and services and made sales transactions using point-of-sales systems on mobile devices.

All three high schools were recognized with prizes. Rancho Alamitos HS earned Gold in Salesmanship for the team's AWEAR business. Garden Grove HS won Silver for Booth Design and Bronze for Sales Materials for the team's "Party Atlas" business. Pacifica HS earned Bronze for Impact Marketing for the team's "Solutions" business.


Jordan Intermediate students compete in Cybersecurity

On Saturday, February 23, a team of 7th and 8th graders from Ms. Georgia Jeon's CTE-STEAM class attended the California Mayors Cyber Cup at Troy High School in Fullerton. This community event celebrated students participating in cyber competitions while bringing awareness to cyber career pathways and the need for building a future workforce of cyber defenders.

Ms. Jeon and her students enjoyed a lunch, followed by a presentation on cybersecurity and an awards ceremony. Following the ceremony, the students heard from local businesses about cyber career opportunities.

In January, Jordan Intermediate had five teams compete in the State Rounds, assisted by a mentor from Coastline Community College. On January 26, they trained at Coastline for the Command Line and Scripting Workshop. Three out of the five original teams qualified for the semi-finals, competing on Friday, February 1st.

As our modern world grows increasingly connected, the need to protect systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks becomes crucial. Cyberattacks aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes have made cybersecurity among the country’s fastest growing sectors. The industry anticipates 28 percent sector growth until at least 2026, with specialty jobs such as data scientists, data security analysts, software security developers, forensic analysts, network security engineers, penetration testers, and chief security officers.

The California Mayors Cyber Cup brought more than 270 teams composed of 1,300 middle and high school students from across the State. The event brings students, parents, educators, and industry leaders together to solve current and future cybersecurity risks and to build a future ethical workforce.

The event is hosted by California Cyberhub, an online organization dedicated to creating a workforce of ethical cybersecurity experts in California, with support from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.


Rescue Robotics

Mr. Lee Isley from Los Amigos brought a team of students from his Principles of Engineering class to the annual Rescue Robotics competition on Saturday, April 22 at the Orange County Fairgrounds. This was the first year they competed, and they won first place out of 26 schools.

The annual competition is a collaboration among UC Irvine, Vital Link, and Orange County School Districts. The mission is to provide STEM education in a hands-on, project-based learning environment through student participation in a Rescue Robotics Program and Demonstration. The program is open to middle school, high school, and college teams.

A rescue robot is a robot that has been designed for the purpose of rescuing people.Common real-world situations that employ rescue robots are earthquakes, mining accidents, urban disasters, hostage situations, and explosions. The benefits of rescue robots to these operations include reduced personnel requirements, reduced fatigue, and increased access to otherwise unreachable areas.

The Rescue Robotics program helps students demonstrate computer programming skills, as well as skills in analysis, research and testing, and personnel/cost management that is integrated into the classroom curriculum. During the demonstration phase, teams built one to five ground, quad copters, or fixed wing rescue robots charged with navigating through a natural outdoor environment to locate x and y coordinates and find RFID victim chips on a 50 x 50 foot grid. Kenya Gonzalez, Oscar Gudino, David Guzman, and Adolfo Paz worked hard, practiced, and applied the engineering design process to develop a product and strategy that helped the Los Amigos team’s rescue robot find the most victim chips at the end of the period.



Cooking Up Change

On April 20, teams from Garden Grove High School and Los Amigos High School Food Service and Hospitality pathway programs competed in the 6th annual regional Cooking Up Change challenge held at Northgate Gonzalez Market headquarters in Anaheim. Their goal was to create delicious school lunches while meeting stringent low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar nutritional guidelines. Plus, they had to rely upon a limited number of readily-available ingredients and adhere to a strict per-serving price tag of about $1 in food costs.

Teams navigated the challenge with guidance from their culinary instructors, chef mentors, and dietitians who helped them conduct nutritional analyses to help adjust their recipes as needed. While adults offer guidance, student teams developed their own recipes, drawing on their culinary arts studies, peer feedback, and their own tastes and experiences.

Garden Grove team mates Tiffany Calderon, Andrea Castro, and Alexis Christian served up Buffalo chicken cupcakes, crown cut tomatoes, and peanut butter and banana crisps along with sunflower seed cookies for the after school snack challenge. Los Amigos student chefs Juan Mayorquin, Michael Ramos, and Christopher Villalpando cooked up “Not-cho Average Nachos,” Holy Curtido, and Sol de la Pina, with a tangy cauliflower-based after school snack.

The judges rated the team from La Habra High School for first place to compete at the national competition. Valley High in Santa Ana earned 2nd place, and California High won 3rd. Although this year neither GGUSD school placed in the top three, our students benefited from participation as they were challenged to think critically, work together as a team, and develop skills that translate to success far beyond the kitchen or the classroom. Community members, civic officials and school administrators were able to sample the students’ creations, meet the cooks and learn about their menu inspirations. The gala competition served as Healthy Schools Campaign’s annual benefit and included paid guests, a silent auction, and a grand prize raffle. Over the past five years, the event has raised more than $300,000 for health and wellness initiatives in low-income Southern California communities.


Santiago HS Seniors Compete at State CyberPatriot Event
(January 2016)
On January 30,  Coastline Community College hosted a nationwide CyberPatriot cyber defense competition on its Garden Grove campus. More than 100 students from Orange County high schools and middle schools showed off their skills at securing Windows and Linux operating systems.

Teams were given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and were tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and guarding the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period.

CyberPatriot is is a youth educational program sponsored by Northrop Grumman Foundation.

Coastline Community’s cybersecurity program was designated last year as a “National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity“ by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Santiago High School students Jimmy Bui, Emiliano Cortes, and Andy Vu competed at the State Round but just missed qualifying to advance to the next level. However, they worked hard and gained valuable experience collaborating in the roles of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. The field of cybersecurity is growing, with high demand expected for professionals skilled in database and network intrusion detection and prevention.

Cyberpatriot IX Teams

Sponsored by the US Air Force Association, the annual Cyberpatriot program is hosting the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. This year, three teams from La Quinta’s ICT/Computer Science pathway have been training and competing for the first time. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the various rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.  Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, Maryland for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.​ So far the LQ students’ hard work and dedication are garnering great results: one team has placed 3rd in the state out of 650 teams in the division and placed 11th in the NATION!!

Click logo below for more information:


La Quinta DECA Team Excels at SoCal Conference

The SoCal DECA Conference gathered 400 students from 22 different high schools who competed in a variety of business themed events. Each event included a 100 question exam as well as one or two interview style role-play presentations. Twenty-three students represented La Quinta
at this amazing event. Several finalists brought home five first place medals, one second place medal, and three third place medals.
This year, the LQ DECA team also had a First Place Grand Champion winner and two Third Place Grand Champion winners.

Los Amigos High School Engineering

Los Amigo Engineering Team and Robotics Team had an excellent showing at the “2015 STEM and the Arts Showcase” at the O.C. Fairgrounds on Friday, April 24th. The Engineering  team consisting of Hector Acosta, Yesenia Diaz, Dolores Pastenes, Paula Rios, Rojieh Sallah, and Marcos Salmeron. They did an excellent job presenting their race car project to group of industry leading professionals.  The judges were extremely impressed by their team work and professionalism. The team is excited to be taking their car to race at UC Irvine’s test track on  May 10th.

On Saturday, April 25th, Los Amigos was one of 12 schools entered into the Vex Robotics Challenge. Our Robotics team consisting of Kevin Demitrio our driver and Abel Villagas, JulioDiaz, and Cesar Sanchez, who all fought a hard battle to take home the third place trophy. Everyone who competed enjoyed the experience and showed great team work. Way to go!

Rancho High School Auto

Rancho High School’s instructor David Le and his students have started the year off to a great start. They have already been involved in the Ronald McDonald Charity for Kids Event in Long Beach on September 13th and the Toyota Engine Competition at Cypress College on September 24th. In Long Beach, his students were able to tear down and reassemble an engine in less than 27 minutes. People from all over the United States were there to see this performance and the dedication necessary to perform at such a high level in competition. At the Cypress event, these same students scored straight 10′s across the board…the highest possible score.

In their latest competition, this outstanding high school team was selected to travel  to the SEMA show in Las Vegas and compete in the Hot Rodder’s of Tomorrow engine rebuilding competition. Once there, this team of four had to dismantle and rebuild a Chevy 350 V8 long-block as quickly as possible without dropping, misplacing, or incorrectly reassembling any of the engine components. Not only did they do this perfectly four times during the three-day event, they did so without one of their team members who had been hurt in an accident back home. They placed 7th overall and even finished their task faster than many of the five-member teams.

Congratulations to David Le and his students Tony Tellez (Senior), Maria Vargas (Sophomore), Jose Campos (Sophomore), and Sergio Payan (Senior). These four students showed the rest of the competition and SEMA attendees the true spirit of Teamwork, Perseverance, and Striving for the Best Possible Outcome, no matter what the task is before you.




Rancho High School Automotive Students Compete in Hot Rodders of Tomorrow for Scholarships

DavidLeClass  DavidLeClass2

(June 2015) 

Two teams from Rancho Alamitos High School placed in the top 3:
Team Aeroquip achieved an engine tear down/rebuild time of 25 minutes and 21 seconds, earning first place, and Team Scorpion Racing, also from Rancho Alamitos High School, came in 3rd place with a time of 26:04.
Both teams were made up of students from Teacher David Le’s automotive courses.
Congratulations on their hard work and team effort!


Santiago High School Students Earn Second Place in UCI Rescue Robotics Challenge

Rescue Robotics  RescueRobot

(May 2015) 

The University of California, Irvine, Vital Link, and Orange County high schools and colleges organized a Rescue Robotics event this spring. The Rescue Robotics challenge provides an opportunity for students in information and communication technology programs across Orange County to test their skills using ground and aerial robots to find and identify simulated human survivors. Robots used for post-disaster search-and-rescue missions will go places humans can’t. Most are tasked with gathering and reporting data back to human operators to help them locate victims and avoid dangerous situations. To help human first responders, these robots may be a swarm of small individuals communicating among themselves, or larger individual units that look for and help victims.The design platforms they’re based on often do double duty as surveillance and reconnaissance aides, so they’re usually equipped with communications capabilities, cameras, and multiple sensor options. Most of them are remote controlled. Some can be configured for autonomous operation, and others are entirely autonomous.A team of students from Mr. Greg French’s Santiago High School ICT/Robotics classes worked hard and placed 2nd overall.

Rescue Robotics Challenge Details
The Rescue Robotics competition has three main principles, each of which imposes difficult challenges on the student team which are important for the real world application of this kind of robot.

1 – Each robot must be safely autonomous. In other words, the robot needs to be programmed to do the work of finding survivors on its own without help from the student team.  This is an important need if robots are to help us search disaster areas.

2 – The robot must work in the natural environment on uneven terrain, with variable sunlight and wind. This is a challenge for most robot sensors, but important in a real disaster situation.

3 – The teams are allowed to use up to five robots which can be either ground or aerial robots. More robots makes it easier to find survivors, but increases complexity of programming the communication and coordination of the search.