CONYERS - Heritage and Salem High School students in the SkillsUSA organization know they have to take a break every once in a while.
The group is the Career Technology Student Organization for students enrolled in trade and industrial, technical, health science technology and service occupations training programs in Georgia's secondary schools.
The club promotes "professional and leadership skills in the work force," said Jeff Rogers, an advisor for the organization at Heritage High School.
The students in the club are part of the work-study program, leaving school early to go to work for school credit.
"We focus on community service projects and leadership contests," Rogers said.
They also need to find time for themselves - he said part of the program is to hold social activities away from school.
"The goal is to increase cooperation in the school and community through activities that allow SkillsUSA members to get to know each other in something other than a business or classroom setting," he said.
So far this year, the students held a bowling outing at AMF Bowling in Conyers in October. The group also attended a leadership conference in Jekyll Island in early October.
The national organization was founded in 1965 as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Inc. and changed its name to SkillsUSA in 1998.
"We consider ourselves to be one of the elite career technology student organizations in Georgia today," Rogers said.
The Rockdale County school chapters will compete at a region competition in February.
"Last year, Heritage took 18 students to region and had 16 finish first or second to advance to the state contest in Gwinnett County," Rogers said. "Over the years, Heritage and Salem have had several state winners that have advanced to the national competition in Kansas City."
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.