3 County Prep students win SkillsUSA competition in N.J., will attend national leadership conference

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Three County Prep High School students won a statewide competition hosted by SkillsUSA, with their “Acts of Kindness” project expressing their effort to bring the student body together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For left to right: Varsha Santhosh Kumar, Fajrhafza Sohail, and Aleena Choudhry. Photos courtesy of County Prep High School.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Aleena Choudhry, of Bayonne, Fajrhafza Sohail, and Varsha Santhosh Kumar, both of Jersey City, presented their project in the organization’s community service division of the competition.

Over a series of three weeks, the girls asked their fellow students to do one small act of kindness, from writing a short letter of gratitude to their teachers during distance learning to donating canned goods to a local food bank.

As a result, over 1,000 acts of kindness were recorded as part of the project.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Hudson County Schools of Technology has encouraged our district community to find creative and innovative ways to come together in a safe and meaningful way,” HCST Superintendent of Schools Amy Lin-Rodriguez said in a statement.

“Aleena, Fajrhafza and Varsha have done an incredible job showing that one small act of kindness can make a big difference, especially during these challenging times. We are incredibly proud of their hard work and wish them continued success this spring. Their project is a true testament that we are all #HCSTstrong.”

Choudhry, Sohail and Kumar’s project included a 30-slide explanation detailing their works and social media reels that were presented to judges.

They are now preparing to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in June, where their project will be presented on a national level.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association that serves middle school, high school and college/post secondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

“Aleena, Fajrhafza and Varsha chose to bring County Prep/ATD together in a way that not only helped boost morale during the pandemic, but left a lasting impression on our entire community,” added Michael Grele, the SkillsUSA advisor for County Prep High School.

“Their ambition and dedication to help others is admirable and gave each of us the opportunity to be part of something bigger. We’re looking forward to watching them compete on the national stage in June.”