Milpitas High School seniors among 3,000 students to participate in first-ever 'National Signing Day'
Milpitas High School seniors Vincente Gonzales and Jose Cabrera were two of 3,000 students at 300 high schools across the country that participated in the first ever National Signing Day May 8 at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE).
Similar to “National Signing Day” events for high school student athletes, SVCTE seniors went up in groups of 10 to sign letters of intent (a promissory note to themselves) and announce their career plans to pursue a career in the skilled trades.
“I’ve been in Career Technical Education for over 26 years,” said Alyssa Lynch, Superintendent of the Metropolitan Education District, which operates SVCTE. “This is a day that is really heartwarming for me, to recognize how important careers are to students.”
Gonzales and Cabrera announced their plans to work in construction following their work at SVCTE. Gonzales said he wants to continue on the path his father has laid while Cabrera said it’s a career he’s looking into due to his interest in having such a hands-on job. They both said being in the program has allowed them to tools they have never used before, including a jigsaw, circular saw, and miter saw. And during their year with the program, they have learned how to build windows and do floors.
The event was sponsored by SkillsUSA and Klein Tools, and San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took part in the festivities along with his father Tony Garoppolo, a recently retired electrician.
“Student athletes aren’t the only ones deserving of recognition for their achievements,” said Tim Lawrence, Executive Director for SkillsUSA. “...So students, today is a celebration of you. Your pledges you’re signing today are to accept an opportunity to learn, to work, and to show that skilled careers matter, not only to you but to our nation’s workforce and our nation’s economy.”
Construction teacher Kurt Cheetsos said National Signing Day came to SVCTE because of an application he completed in January. In just one week, he found out the school had been selected, an opportunity he believed was important to expose students to community members sharing their validation of the skilled trades, rather than just their parents or teachers.
“I’m really passionate about leading students in the trades,” he said. “It’s my passion as a teacher.”
Principal Alecia Myers-Kelley, the daughter of an electrician, said the event was “a wonderful way to raise awareness that it’s not always about college. I think for a lot of our students in particular, it’s going to validate what they already know. That all the work they do throughout the year will lead to something great.”
More than 300 students receive industry-based certifications at SVCTE each year, which represent training that might mean immediate employment for students following their high school graduation. The school has 138 students enrolled in the construction trades program.
Before students signed their letters of intent, Jimmy Garoppolo and his father interacted with students across the country through a live video feed on Klein Tools’ Facebook page.
“Just like signing day, it was an unforgettable moment for me in high school,” Jimmy Garoppolo said. “I think it’s just as important to acknowledge and celebrate the students who choose to pursue this career in the skilled trades. Having witnessed firsthand the hard work, skill, and dedication of my dad for 40 years, like I said, I applaud the young people in this country who are taking those next steps toward a career in the skilled trades.”