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franklin county times

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Phil Campbell High School Jobs and Graduates student Justin Wade, a senior, placed first in the employability skills competition at the National Career Association North District Career Development Conference Feb. 6 at the Marriott in Florence. This qualifies him to compete March 5 at the state level. The competition will take place at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.

JAG is a school to work transition program to help prepare students for their careers. The group’s sponsor, Tina King, said if Wade places in the top three, he’ll go on to compete at the national level April 18-20 in St. Louis.

“I was very surprised when I won,” Wade said. “I didn’t expect it, but I practiced and put in a lot of hard work, and I’m very proud of my accomplishment.”

He said although he was “a little nervous” when first going in, it “all went away” when he got to meet the judges and start the interview. “I had fun,” he added. “I like learning from my mistakes, and they told me what to improve on. I’m very grateful for the experience. I feel like I’ll be more prepared next time, as well as a lot more confident in my abilities.”

Wade said after high school, he plans to earn an associate’s degree from Northwest Shoals Community College. His current long-term goal is to earn a law degree from the University of Alabama.

“I’m really excited for Justin placing and getting this opportunity to advance to the next level and see where it takes him,” King said. “It takes a lot of courage to go in front of anyone and interview for something, but knowing you’re going in front of three perfect strangers to compete for a mock position is a very particular situation to prepare for.”

PCHS JAG student, Abraham Barrientos, also a senior, competed at the district conference, in the category of financial literacy.

“I enjoyed the competition,” Barrientos said. “It was my first time competing, and although I didn’t win, it was interesting. I’m so happy for my friend, Justin Wade, for getting first place in his competition.”

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