Four Hesperia Unified School District students brought home top awards from an Inland Empire Regional Occupational Program competition last month.

A total of 20 ROP students from three San Bernardino County programs won the top awards for the 2007 Inland Empire Chapter Annual Outstanding Student Competition, held on May 8.

ROP programs give students hands-on job training while still in school, with the ultimate goal of giving students career-ready skills by graduation.

The students competed against 51 other students from four neighboring ROPs (Baldy View, Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa, Riverside County and San Bernardino County) in several different categories. The competition consisted of submitting a resume, designing a work portfolio for presentation at the event, filling out a job application, attending a panel interview at the event and then presenting a work portfolio and a project one. The four HUSD students had already won a prior event in February to qualify for the Inland Empire competition.

Laura Andersen, a student at the Hesperia Alternative Education Center, won the gold medal for dental assisting at the competition.

Eric Hutter, a student at Hesperia High School, won the bronze medal for design and electronic prepress.

Scott Peterson, a student at Sultana High School, won the gold medal for auto technology.

Jamie Sommerville, a Hesperia High School student, won the gold medal for cosmetology.

Each prize also included scholarship money.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.