MERCED — At first, if you don't succeed, try again, only harder.
That's the philosophy of Daisy Castillo of Merced, a Golden Valley High School student who will take part in a national home economics-related competition in Nashville in July.
Daisy, a 17-year-old senior, will compete in job application and interview skills at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America convention.
Angela Waskiewicz, family consumer science instructor-adviser at Golden Valley, said Daisy took first place in a job application and interview competition in late April in Ontario.
That win meant a $1,000 scholarship, $100 cash award and eligibility for the national competition.
"It was amazing, a really big deal for the school," Waskiewicz said.
Daisy said last year she received a fifth place award at the regional meeting.
"I then decided I would go back this year and win," Daisy said. "I prepared with various teachers and revised my portfolio. I set goals and worked hard to achieve them."
Waskiewicz thanks school staff members and the community for their generosity in the more than $2,500 in donations received so Daisy and a chaperone can attend the July 5-11 Nashville convention.
Daisy has a 4.2 grade-point average. She plans to complete transfer requirements at Merced College and then go to California State University, Fresno, majoring in food and nutrition science.
"My long-term career goal is to use my degree to become a registered dietitian," she said. Daisy is involved in the ProStart culinary arts program, weightlifting, church, academic mentoring and Future Homemakers of America, Home Economics Related Occupations.
Daisy doesn't believe most people think about how the foods they eat affect them. Still, she sees people leaning toward a more gluten-free diet.
"However, I believe we should all be eating more veggies and healthy proteins," she said.
Daisy also believes most people aren't adequately prepared for a job interview.
"I've been judged on it," she said. "It depends on the situation. However, there are many rules in the job application and interview process many people are not aware of. Chewing gum, grammar, posture, professional dress little things make a difference."
Daisy called the nationals a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, saying she guarantees she will represent Golden Valley with pride.
At the state convention, Brisa Slaton, a junior, took a third place in menu planning and table display. Sofie Prado, a senior, received first place in culinary art-breads, receiving a plaque, trophy, chef's coat and a $1,000 renewable scholarship to Johnson & Wales University for four years.
Maggie Ramos, a senior, garnered third place in job application and trophy competition. Kyle Salcido, E.J. Garcia and Destiny Lopez competed as a team in commercial food preparation.
Waskiewicz said Golden Valley has had students eligible for nationals, although Daisy was the first to attend.