Dallas College News Update


Bryce Hayden won first place in the SkillsUSA restaurant service competition.

Media Contact: Debra Dennis; DDennis@DallasCollege.edu

For immediate release — July 10, 2024

(DALLAS) — Bryce Hayden’s culinary attributes have unfolded in many phases. The service skills he has learned as part of the curriculum at Dallas College helped him earn a gold medal at the annual SkillsUSA Competition — a national contest he was reluctant to enter.

He found some aspects of the competition daunting and perplexing but found camaraderie among the other contestants. His presentation — role-playing with guests, a Caesar salad from scratch, a properly set table and knockout mocktail — convinced the judges that although he hadn’t practiced much, he was a solid winner.

“I’m a culinary student — not a server,” said Hayden, who entered culinary school after he grew weary of his career in the corporate world. He entered the Skills USA contest at the urging of his advisor, Sheila Hyde, Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality Department chair at Dallas College.

“The competition was a lot of fun,” Hayden said. “It was quite intimidating, but I wanted to make it feel fluent and make it feel natural. The whole time I thought I’d missed the mark. My goal wasn’t to win but to have a good time.”

Hayden is among the Dallas College students who scored gold at last month’s competition in Atlanta.

Gold medalists Harrison Nguyen and Dakota Reeves entered the Community Action Project competition, convinced that they could sway others of the importance of voting. A look at declining voter registration in local, state and national elections left them reeling but hopeful that they could convince the most cynical would-be voters that there is value in every election and in every vote.

“We had to convince them that they have a voice,” said Nguyen, an officer with the Student Government Association at Richland Campus.

But he and Reeves had to first motivate themselves, Nguyen said. They studied the speeches of former presidents and founding fathers and crafted a message of empowerment and duty.

“To acknowledge the situation we’re facing today, I do see it that there a possible future. We can change the world,” said Nguyen, admonishing his peers to put away their fears about voting. “When I get older, I can always look back and say, ‘We did it.’ Many generations to come would appreciate us for what we did to make things better.”

In addition to the two gold honors, Dallas College students picked up two silver awards. The Chapter Business Procedure honor was given to Yonata Kidane, Faith Rachel, Khai Huynh, Andrea Lucio, Dyanna Ortiz and Antonio Ramirez Almendarez; and the Chapter Display award was claimed by Hassan Abdule, Cameron Flores and Samreen Kolia.

A bronze medal was awarded to Richland student Luis Pacheco for Customer Service. A second bronze was given to El Centro’s Rosemary Pate for Job Skill Demonstration.

“The SkillsUSA program empowers students to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the skills gap,” said Noeli Piccoli Biggs, senior manager for Special Academic Programs. “We are especially proud of all our students and the supporting faculty, staff and administrators.”

SkillsUSA offers an array of awards for its students and advisors, underscoring their commitment to promoting excellence and leadership in career and technical education. These recognitions are presented each summer at the organization’s national conference. This year’s event drew 6,000 state champions who competed in 115 skill and leadership events.

“These wins show that Dallas College students are proving they are ready for the workforce,” said Dr. Justin Lonon, who travelled to Atlanta to support Dallas College participants. “This talent pipeline endorsed by community colleges means our students can move with ease from the classroom to career-readiness.”

# # #