You may have read our recent article on our participation in the SkillsUSA National Web Design and Development competition in Atlanta, GA that took place in June. Today we are highlighting how we helped Texas run their state SkillsUSA competition and how that experience helped prepare their students for the national competition. In fact, two Texas students, Jean-Paul Metoyer and Carl Omondi of Carl Wunsche Senior High School in Spring, TX (pictured above with Mark DuBois and Jonathan Worent of Web Professionals Global) won the gold medal for the high school competition. Web Professionals Global is proud to welcome Jean-Paul and Carl into our membership ranks.
First, let’s take a look at how Web Professionals Global helped Texas and other states with their competitions. Competitions can be run in person or entirely online, making it easy for more students to join and participate in each state. Not only does the new approach make it easier for any state to run their own web design and development competition, but it also ensures that every state is conducting their own competition to prepare students for the national competition. This model gives all states the same turnkey resources to ensure a successful competition that engages students.
This is the second year for Web Professionals Global supplying turn-key competitions to the state SkillsUSA event teams. Each year we double the number of states who take advantage of our competition package. We are also seeing the results. For states that used our materials in 2022 and again this year, we saw improvements in competitors building their skills to help them better compete at the national competition.
Our competition support includes:
- Online web design exam similar to what the competitors might see at nationals
- Competition project with client assets and judging rubrics
- Handouts for competitors with overview and links to resources
- Online development environment “IDE” for each competitive team
- State event team and judge support
Hear from a member of the Texas SkillsUSA team on how we helped:
Mark, your platform and contest is very well-designed and easy to use. The students truly loved competing in this contest! I can’t wait to see what you all have for nationals as well. It’s going to be wonderful! We thoroughly enjoyed the integration into this year’s contest and look forward to working with you again on next year’s contest!” – Renee Blackshear, Instructor, Statewide Faculty Senate, SkillsUSA Texas
Jean-Paul and Carl chatting with working web professionals at the SkillUSA national competition
Hear From the Winners
We caught up with Jean-Paul and Carl to hear about their experience in the state and national competitions.
How do you feel the state competition prepared you for the national competition?
Jean-Paul: I did not compete at the state level, I subbed in for Carl’s original partner, our friend Aaron, who was going to college. However, both Carl and Aaron explained to me the difficulties of the competition, which prepared me for the level of difficulty at the national level.
Carl: Personally, getting experience at the state level was exhilarating. From the start, Aaron and I had a strategy of separating technical and creative tasks which meant we could each shine in our own way. As the person in charge of design and creative aspects of the competition, I was able to guide the direction that the web project that we would eventually turn in would take and use my creativity to solve the problems I presented. Therefore, at least towards preparation for the national event, the Texas state championships were very similar to the national competition. The only difference was that during states, it was only the technical aspect that was judged by our ability to develop a website since we had no prompt to go over and design a website around.
How did you enjoy participating in the state and national competitions?
Jean-Paul: As previously stated, I did not compete at the state level. In contrast, competing at the national level was very fun. Being able to explore Atlanta was exciting, but the competition itself was truly where all the joy was. During the orientation, other teams were asking extremely technical questions, showing me and Carl that these teams were prepared and well-knowledged. This fueled my competitive spirit, thriving me to do great in tandem with Carl in order to win. The prompt surrounding a nature-based nonprofit website was very fun to design and develop, even with the restrictions. Overall I had lots of fun competing, experiencing Atlanta, and socializing with other competitors.
Carl: I absolutely loved competing at the national level in SkillsUSA. As I found out, apparently the Texas delegation was infamous for doing things its own way and is generally independent of the other states in terms of planning and hotel booking; meaning that I did not get to meet that many people from other states during my stay at the hotel. With that being said, however, meeting a range of different people all the way from Alaska and Hawai’i to Oregon and Maine was an intriguing experience coming from the hot fields of Texas. I loved the pin exchange experience and the rush of awe and interest anytime I would ask people what state they are from.
What was it like hearing from the panel of three web professionals (Angel, Jessica and Shan) who are succeeding in the world of web design and development?
Jean-Paul: Hearing from the three speakers was very enlightening and informative, as I could relate to some of their experiences with starting coding at an early age. It also gave me a tangible insight on the world of web development after high school and college. Being able to hear from these speakers both reaffirmed my goals within software development and made me feel like I was on the right track.
Carl: The concentration of deep and valuable technical and career knowledge I got during that talk cannot be adequately explained. A salient point I noted from that talk is that it changed my perception about career advancement and how I can approach breaking into web development. I had always thought that it was better to do a range of things since it would make me more valuable as a web developer. However, the panel of judges completely went against that philosophy by basically saying that being an expert is going to help me get further and be more valued. This is just one of the lessons that I got during that talk and it is immensely going to impact the path that I take moving forward towards my career. And for that, I thank the panel and Web Professionals Global for serendipitously exposing me to such knowledge early on in my career.
What is it about web design that you love so much?
Jean-Paul: My favorite part of web design is that it mixes logic with art, which are two things I love dealing with. Staring at my screen for hours trying to figure out how to center a div or implementing an animation brings a lot of joy to me because at the basic level, it’s like solving a math problem, but with art involved.
Carl: The most intriguing aspect about web design and development is the brainstorming process. Whether it is thinking about the most effective way to communicate a brand or what technical techniques I can employ to bring a certain design to life, the euphoric lift I get every time I creatively solve a problem is what keeps me going in this industry and pushes me to learn more.
How does it feel knowing you are now members of Web Professionals Global, an international professional association?
Jean-Paul: Joining Web Professionals Global, an international professional association, is a humbling experience. It’s a reminder of the vast, interconnected world of web professionals that I am now a part of. This opportunity is not just a recognition of my efforts in web development, but also a responsibility to learn, contribute, and grow within this global community. I am grateful for this chance to deepen my understanding and look forward to the journey ahead.
Carl: I see this as definitive proof that I am indeed not as inadequate, technically speaking, as my imposter syndrome sometimes paints me to be.
What was your favorite part of the competition?
Jean-Paul: My favorite part of the competition was during the coding section. Being able to mix the technical side of coding with the artistic part of web design is always enjoyable to me, which is what the heart of this competition is.
Carl: My favorite part of the competition was the design part as we were given the prompt for the non-profit. The adrenaline flowing through my body as I was writing together every piece of information I could about the company in order to translate it into a design that satisfies the prompt was engaging and my favorite part of the process.
What went through your mind when you saw Texas on the big screen?
Jean-Paul: As soon as we saw Texas as the finalist, Carl and I jumped up grabbing each other, screaming in elation. To see all the months of fundraising, trying to get a bigger budget, and practicing all coming together was truly an amazing moment.
Carl: In that moment, it was absolute euphoria.
How did it make you feel when you were on stage in front of over 16,000 people and Mark, the Executive Director, was hanging the gold medals on you two?
Jean-Paul: It was one of the best feelings that I ever experienced. For all our hard work to pay off was calming yet exhilarating. And to have Mark, one of the best developers I have ever met, to give us the award was truly an honor.
What did you say to each other afterward?
Jean-Paul: We were so happy to have the award ceremony end, because we were extremely nervous throughout the almost two hours of waiting for our competition to be called. This left us with our thoughts about if we could actually win, which was very nerve-racking. Overall, we were elated that everything was over and that we did not have to worry anymore.
Carl: Technically, the very first words out of my mouth when we found out we were finalists were “No way” over and over again as the Texas state delegation cheered us on. Afterwards, Jean and I, from the moment we left the stage to the hotel and plane, kept talking about how our efforts to both fundraise and coach ourselves to nationals paid off. Coming from a Title I high school, fundraising for nationals was a communal effort for us involving everyone from the librarian to the custodians and district administration. Therefore, the knowledge that we could now bring back something to show all those who had helped us in a myriad of different ways that their efforts were worth something was the immediate reward prior to finding out that we were indeed number one in the United States for web development.
Who did you call first?
Jean-Paul: The first people we talked to were our friends in a group chat who we had competed with at the state level in other competitions, and who helped fundraise throughout the entire process.
Carl: Unfortunately, my phone died as we were backstage about to receive our medals. However, leading up to the release of the final spots, I had texted my friends in a group chat who were all watching live from different parts of the country and world.
What would you tell students who are thinking of participating in next year’s state and national Web Design and Development competitions?
Jean-Paul: To definitely prepare. The competitors at the national level are very knowledgeable about every aspect of the competition, so you need to prepare for everything.
Carl: The most practical advice I can give for next year’s competitors is, as cliché as it is, to practice. Indeed, most of the knowledge that I applied towards winning nationals came from making my own web projects and that is what helped land me this distinction as a national champion. With technology, and by proxy the web, becoming ever more ubiquitous in our lives, it is only going to get more competitive moving forward; thus practicing by making more projects is the best way to learn since that is the technical skill that is going to be judged the most especially at the national level.
Jean-Paul and Carl on stage with the silver and bronze medal winners as well as Web Professionals Global team members
Congrats again to Jean-Paul, Carl and all the other competitors for a job well done. If you are a student, teacher or parent interested in hearing more about how you can get involved in next year’s state and national competitions, contact us today at 662-493-2776 or email@example.com.