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Patrick Hickey, Tyler Grossi, Ryan May, Austin Feavel, Loren Acosta, Michael Silva, Grace Stokes, Michael Mullen ... holy smokes! Congratulations! Cuesta IS an awesome school, but education is a tool, a technology, that isn’t by itself the answer to all of your problems.

Even if we could take a step back and pretend that school WAS easy, it still wouldn’t be an easy path because it only gets you so far, and how far that is depends in many ways on you. The names above are attached to Cuesta students who have received accolades of various kinds, and I’ve gotta say it again: congratulations! I don’t just mean for the “simple” act of winning some kind of competition or award, though frankly that is awesome. I also find excitement in the fact that, for whatever journey each of them is on, there are definite steps forward here. I know at least one of the people named, and I find it thrilling whenever I hear about them, to hear where all of their hard work is getting them. Students don’t always know what dreams may come but everybody’s got something inside itching to get out and, when the manifestation is visibly closer—I mean, c’mon. Isn’t that exciting?

But, specifics are in order, I think. Hickey, Grossi, and May placed first in the welding fabrication competition of the 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Six and a half hours of great teamwork designing and building a utility trailer from given materials is fantastic, and the judges seemed to think so, too. Hickey and May have even both medaled at SkillsUSA before!

Feavel placed fourth in Auto Collision Refinishing; Acosta and Silva placed fifth in Digital Cinema Production; Stokes earned seventh in Commercial Baking; and as for Mullen, well, he placed second in WorldSkills America’s auto service technology competition earlier this year, and he’s headed to the International Worldskills in Brazil come August of 2015.

These are, of course, just some of the ways that hard work pays off visibly, and they are clearly not end goals. But hey, in the long run, just how many true end goals are there? You reach a destination and you realize that there’s more if you keep on running. I only hope to hear about even more of the wonderful things that students have been up to ... even when they no longer attend college. Reaching the degree is a milestone. What happens when you reach the next?

Intern Chris White-Sanborn wishes you well on your path. Congratulations to these as well as many other achieving students that have come before and even have yet to come. Send your collegiate news to cougarsandmustangs@newtimesslo.com!

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