Feature

Beating the Odds

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By Hilary Broman, Photo credit Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

April Vezie, a welding major was one of fourteen CNM students who competed in the National SkillsUSA competition and out of those fourteen she was the only female, she said.

Despite her hearing loss, Vezie has acquired a talent for public speaking, she said.

“Apparently I’m really good at it but sometimes I get so nervous that I forget my own name,” she said.

This was her second time competing in the extemporaneous speech category and her third time competing nationally, she said.

She placed fourth in the extemporaneous speech category, which is often referred to as speaking off the cuff, she stated.

Vezie is also the chapter president for SkillsUSA as well as the secretary for the Women Advancing in Trades and Technology chapter at CNM, she said.

In the extemporaneous speech category each participant is given a topic and five minutes to prepare their speech and this year Vezie’s topic was about what patriotism means to her, she said.

“Patriotism is not just being dependent on other people and other countries, it’s building up our own economy, loving our neighbors, and actually getting to know our neighbors. America today is not the same country I was brought up in,” she said.

Vezie grew up in New Mexico and she knew her neighbors well, she explained.

“If I got out of line not only was my neighbor going to spank me but when I got home I was going to get another spanking,” Vezie said laughing.

Although Vezie is a gifted public speaker her passion is welding, she said.

“I live to weld!” Vezie said with excitement.

Vezie is also adamant about choosing passion over talent, she said.

“I am a horrible welder. I’m probably the worst in the program but I love it. It’s important to find what you love and not let anything stand in your way,” Vezie said.

She likes to prove the naysayers wrong, she expressed.

“Don’t put limits on me,” said Vezie, “I used to wear leg braces as a kid. The doctors told me that I’d never be able to walk. Well yes I can!”

She also likes to show others that they can succeed too, she stated.

“Everyone has problems. It may be that they can’t hear. It may be that they can’t walk. Maybe they have a prison record. They shouldn’t let that stand in their way or let other people determine what they are capable of,” she said.

Vezie is entering her second year in the welding program at CNM and her first year was not without struggle, she stated.

“I’ve wanted to walk out. I’ve walked out of the classroom and didn’t want to come back,” Vezie said.

If not for the support of her classmates whom she considers family she would not have made it this far, she said.

Vezie plans to continue on her path to become a welder as well as compete in the SkillsUSA competition next year and she is ready to compete in welding, she said.

“My instructor, Chris Woods, challenged me to compete in the individual welding fabrication or sculpture category next year. He told me that it’s time to put on my big girl panties!” Vezie said smiling.

Vezie does hope to see more women compete and represent CNM next year, she said.

“I want to show that girls are pretty awesome and we can do it too!” she said.

At the end of November, the SkillsUSA chapter will start holding in house competitions and Vezie encourages students of all trades to compete, stated Vezie.

She encourages all CNM students to find something that they are passionate about and pursue it.

“It might take long, but you’ll get there,” she said.

To read April’s full inspirational speech click here: Skills speech

For a printable copy of this story click here: printable April Vezie.edit (1)

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