Dayton Middle School student places first at regional GEAR UP Competition
May 4, 2023
TRI-CITIES–Dayton Middle School student Christian Gonzalez, competing in the GEAR Up 8th Grade Career Showcase here April 28, finished with a big win. The aspiring neurosurgeon impressed the judges with his determination, knowledge of his chosen career, neurosurgery, and his ability to connect with his audience without relying on notes and was chosen above 11 other students from middle schools around the region.
He and the other participants from Walla Walla and Tri-Cities schools went up against each other in presenting their career plans to a panel of three judges. The students were judged on their content and delivery.
Upon hearing his name announced as the winner of the competition, Gonzalez looked as though he could not believe the words he was hearing. Despite feeling confident in his presentation, he was still completely shocked by the news of taking first place.
"I felt relieved that it was over, and that the pressure was off, but also nervous because I didn't know what was next," Gonzalez explained in the moments following the announcement.
As the winner of the competition, Gonzalez, along with one family member, will be able to attend the Youth Leadership Summit at the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships Conference, to be held July 16-19 in San Francisco, Calif. The Youth Summit brings together promising students from around the country to build their confidence and leadership skills.
"Christian will make a wonderful representative at the Conference," stated Heather Clarys, Dayton 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."
Christian was well represented at the competition by his proud family. His mother, Xochitl Arroyo, along with seven other family members, including two-month old niece, were there to cheer him on and participate in the activities.