State champs: Carson High skills on display |

State champs: Carson High skills on display

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Carson High School seniors Laura Licari, 17, and Matt Fiske, 19, won the Skills USA Web design competition in Las Vegas last weekend.

Laura Licari and Matt Fiske had just received their first-place medals in Web design, a category that had kept them waiting anxiously because of its second-to-last alphabetical status among 35, when they had to walk up to the stage a second time during the Skills USA ceremony Friday in Las Vegas.

“I looked up at the board, and it said ‘Carson High School,'” Licari said. “And somebody was like ‘Everybody go up on the stage,’ so I went. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going up for. We were still excited about the Web Design award.”

Licari, Fiske and 36 other Carson High students received a trophy for achieving the highest overall average score per student at the Skills USA competition, making them state champions.

“I think it says a lot,” Licari said. “It shows that Carson High School’s technical education stands up to all the other high schools in Nevada.”

The CHS Web Design class is taught by Sherri Kelley. Licari and Fiske spent eight hours Thursday designing a Web site for a Las Vegas radio station, trying to ignore the nearby pounding and sawing from the cabinetmaking competition.

Licari was the Web designer and Fiske, who designed the Carson High School Web site as well as the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Web site, was the Webmaster.

“We had so much Web content to put in that we had to make necessary cuts here and there about how we wanted to display it,” Fiske said.

Of the approximately 40 schools competing in Skills USA – some from Northern Nevada, but many of them from Las Vegas – and many of them vocational-tech schools, Carson High School’s win is no small feat.

“The key was this was the first academic school to win,” Kelley said. “It’s always a vo-tech that wins. Every student that went down there contributed to Carson getting the state championship.”

After their first-place wins, nine students will compete in the national Skills USA competition in Kansas City, Mo., June 22-23.

Carson High Principal Fred Perdomo worked out the funding as soon as he heard from CHS culinary teacher Penny Reynolds about the school’s turnout.

Part of the funding will come from the Carl Perkins Act, named after a Kentucky congressman who was a leader in vocational education in the 1960s. The school district will pay for the student airfare.

“The school board and the school district have been very supportive of how students get to state and national competitions,” Perdomo said.

The wins are huge for students who place in the nationals. Some students receive full scholarships to vo-tech schools.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.