Great skills earn national win

Criminal Justice student receives Gold Medal in Atlanta


Ariana Becerril

Maylene Barnard, a Senior at Sanger High that participated with John Warde in Skills USA for Criminal Justice.

Senior Maylene Barnard was recognized for winning the Gold Medal for California’s Skills USA Criminal Justice competition event that qualified her to compete at the national level.
Barnard traveled to Atlanta the week after school let out for summer break last June and competed in the Criminal Justice competition against students with Skills USA Chapters nationwide, according to Valley Regional Occupational Program (VROP) Criminal Justice/Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) instructor John Warde.
“Maylene came in 11th out of (35) competitors in this category, representing Sanger High and the State of California proudly!” said Warde. “Maylene was only a junior during this competition and looks forward to competing again this year with Skills USA.”
Skills USA is a National partnership of Career Technical Education (CTE) students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America is provided with a skilled work
force coming out of high school, according to Warde.
As of 2022, Skills USA has approximately 238,000 members which include students, teachers and technical advisors, according to Warde. Sanger High generally has between 50-75 students participate each year as members and competitors.
Skills USA offers students opportunities to compete and meet with other students as well as industry partners throughout the State of California. Students are also offered various levels of curriculum in leadership and they are inspired to participate in community service projects.
“Skills USA has over 100 different technical, leadership and skills related competitions,” said Warde. “Maylene competed in the Criminal Justice category at the Regional level, which consisted of schools with SkillsUSA Chapters from Paso Robles down to the Bakersfield
She was recognized as the California State Champion after a state competition in Ontario, which qualified her for the National Competition in Atlanta, GA.
“It was overwhelming because I didn’t think I would win. I felt happy and excited because I was going to compete and represent California at the National Conference in Atlanta Georgia,” said Barnard.
Winning this award has given Barnard many opportunities to pursue her future career.
In fact, she is eager to participate in various activities, competitions and events with the class and the Sanger Police Department.
“This made an impact in my life by giving me the opportunity to compete and represent California at a national event. Because I am the first to win state and go to nationals I got recognized by the school board and Sanger’s police chief,” said Barnard.
When it comes to competitions, no matter the outcome, advisors expect students to be ready and prepared.
“Students are expected to practice with their advisors or instructors, work hard, try their best and by all means have fun! Hopefully, learning some useful life skills along the way during their journey,” said Warde.
Students who show an interest in a career as a law enforcement officer or related fields are encouraged to take the Criminal Justice class as a junior and then CSI class as a senior.
Barnard wasn’t raised in California, she grew up in South Africa with her two siblings, an older brother and identical twin sister. CSI is her favorite class and she is still very active with the club. She also enjoys riding horses and watching crime show documentaries.
She is very thankful to Warde for “helping and mentoring me throughout the competition.”
“Maylene has a very quiet personality, but she has the heart of a lion when it comes to competition,” said Warde. “I am very proud of Maylene’s accomplishments last year, and look forward to what’s in store for this year.”