The Times 

Dayton student places first at regional GEAR UP Competition


Submitted photo

Christian Gonzalez surrounded by his biggest supporters, his family, at the GEAR UP Career Showcase Competition.

DAYTON-On April 28th, Christian Gonzalez and 11 other students from middle schools around the region competed in the GEAR UP 8th Grade Career Showcase Competition in Tri-Cities, Wash. He and the other participants from Walla Walla and Tri-Cities schools presented their career plans to a panel of three judges. The students were judged on content and delivery.

Gonzalez impressed the judges with his determination, knowledge of his chosen career in neurosurgery, and his ability to connect with his audience without relying on notes.

Upon hearing his name announced as the competition winner, Gonzalez looked as though he could not believe the words he was hearing. Though confident in his presentation, he was still completely shocked by the news of taking first place.

Following the announcement, Gonzalez said, "I felt relieved that it was over and that the pressure was off, but also nervous because I didn't know what was next."

As the winner of the competition, Gonzalez and a family member will attend the Youth Leadership Summit at the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships Conference, to be held July 16-19 in San Francisco, California. The Youth Summit brings promising students from around the country to build their confidence and leadership skills.

"Christian will make a wonderful representative at the conference," said Heather Clarys, Dayton's GEAR UP Site Manager. "None of us were surprised that he came out on top of the competition. He was well-prepared and determined to bring home the prize for his family and classmates."

Gonzalez was well represented at the competition by his proud family. His mother, Xochitl Arroyo, and seven family members, including his 2-month-old niece, were there to cheer him on and participate in the activities.


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