Julia Waldow, Print Arts & Style Editor
Five ROP students attended the 2011-2012 Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Outstanding Student Competition on Tuesday, March 13. Roughly 130 students from 23 districts, two Los Angeles County Office of Education schools and two juvenile detention centers’ schools participated in this event, which has been held for about the past 25 years. Beverly’s finalists were senior Edmund Hong (Culinary Arts, Advanced), senior Jasmine Ganji (Film and Video Production), senior Joshua Galen (Sports and Entertainment Marketing), senior Max Schwartz (Film and Video Production) and junior Pasha Farmanara (Desktop Publishing).
Each district was allowed to send a total of its top five teacher-recommended ROP students to the competition. In order to qualify, students completed an interview with their ROP instructor(s) and submitted a resume. At the event, they submitted a separate resume, completed a job application, were interviewed by three or four interviewers ranging from industry professionals to LACOE employees and presented a project that they completed through their ROP coursework.
During the interviews, students were asked questions such as how ROP has affected their high school experiences, where they see themselves in five years and how ROP has helped them overcome challenges.
“[The biggest challenge was] the interview because other aspects of the competition are pre-planned, but the interview is the only section that is ‘on the spot,’” Farmanara, who presented beverlyhighlights.com as his project, said.
Participants used different methods to help them stay focused during the different stages of the competition.
“It helps me to calm down when I think about my experience and know that I was chosen to be here, so I must have done something right,” Ganji, who presented a DVD of her video reel and videos she filmed, produced and/or edited, said.
By the end of the day, students had learned lessons from their diverse experiences and offered advice to future competitors.
“There is no reason to be nervous if you’re prepared,” Schwartz, who presented a DVD of highlights of his KBEV show and pieces he has directed and/or produced, said. “Just be relaxed and be yourself. Your interviewers will feel relaxed and more themselves, and you’ll have a better overall interaction with them.”
Program directors were pleased with the competition’s large turnout and excited to have spent the day with the finalists.
“Today is the most students we’ve had represented in this competition,” Jimmy Benavides, Director of the Career and Workforce Development Regional Occupational Program, said. “The preparation for today shows the success of the schools and their programs. It’s exciting to interact with students and hear their stories [and it’s] reassuring to see that they are moving one step forward and preparing for the workforce.”
Additionally, Beverly’s staff was proud of their students’ work and representation of the high school.
“Seeing our excellent students having a chance to show others their passion about what they do in our ROP program and how prepared they are for their future makes us proud,” Steve Rappaport, Beverly’s ROP director, said.
Seven gold medals and 21 silver medals will be awarded to the winners, who will be announced sometime next week.
March 22 update: Schwartz received a silver medal in the competition. Farmanara, Galen, Ganji and Hong won bronze medals.