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Dallas College Students End Spring Semester With Impressive Wins 

Last updated on May 16, 2024

Ainsley Roberts is headed to her summer internship in the French Alps with a gold medal. Roberts won the top prize in the Baking and Pastry Arts portion of the SkillsUSA competition held in Houston earlier this spring, a year after winning a bronze medal in the same category. 

“I was able to take what I learned from what I didn’t do last year,” Roberts said. “And I was able to confidently show up to get first this year.” 

Roberts was one of 31 Dallas College students who won a gold medal at the SkillsUSA competition. In total, Dallas College had 48 students win medals (31 gold, 13 silver and four bronze). 

The SkillsUSA winners were among several groups of students recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 7. It highlighted a memorable Spring 2024 semester, which was capped with 5,224 students walking the graduation stage from May 9-11. 

Roberts was among those who graduated. Next up is a pastry internship in the French Alps. 

Among those honored at the May 7 board meeting included:

SkillsUSA Award Winners

As stated, Dallas College had 48 students win medals at this year’s competition. In all, 71 students competed in skills-based contests. The students were accompanied by 13 faculty members and one advisor. 

Asked how she’d describe the fellow students who competed in SkillsUSA, Roberts said: “They are determined. They are excited. They are willing to put themselves in uncomfortable environments in order to grow. 

“This organization (SkillsUSA) is one of the ones that really help you grow.”

Phi Theta Kappa Catalyst Award Winners

Dallas College has a rich and long history with Phi Theta Kappa, which is known as the official honor society for two-year colleges. The college, which has active chapters on all seven main campuses, sent 76 students, 15 advisors and four administrators to Orlando, Florida for the PTK Catalyst 2024, the organization’s premier annual event.

All seven campuses were recognized as five-star chapters and returned with 15 top honors. 

A couple of international students who attended the board meeting, Leticia Laranjeira from Brazil and Ligio Muthemba from Mozambique, described the impact PTK has had on them. 

For Laranjeira, being part of PTK has helped her confidence grow and helped her realize what she wants to do in the future. 

“Two years ago, when I moved to the United States, I was insecure for many reasons, English being one but also not believing I had the capacity to be involved in this type of thing,” she said. “But, through Phi Theta Kappa, I discovered this confidence.” 

Laranjeira is now majoring in psychology with visions of working in public service one day. 

Muthemba had a similar experience by joining PTK, saying he grew from being a shy student into a leader on campus. 

“Joining PTK and seeing students my age, younger than me and older than me, doing all these things to help others, to help communities succeed, I was like, OK, PTK is the place where I can grow,” he said. 

Along with the PTK students, Dallas College also recognized Dr. Eddie Tealer, President of the Eastfield Campus. President Tealer was awarded the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, an award given by PTK to college presidents who have shown support of student initiatives leading to stronger pathways to completion, transfer and employment. 

Future of Fashion Award Winners

Finally, Dallas College recognized the success of its first-ever Design Week, highlighted by the Future of Fashion Showcase that drew in more than 400 guests. 

One of the standouts from the night was Dallas College student Faith Varghese, who designed a 10-piece collection. Varghese had always wanted to pursue a fashion career and decided to chase her dreams amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“COVID gave me an opportunity to reignite and an opportunity to go to Dallas College,” she said. “I started with one fashion sketching class, and I was hooked.” 

Varghese loves that fashion is a way to communicate who you are without speaking. And she feels that there are other careers out there where people can find a similar passion to hers with fashion. 

“Just go for it and take a class,” she said. “There’s no harm in taking one class and seeing how great it can turn out.”

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

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