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Recent graduate wins national drafting competition

By By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
July 15, 2010 at 2:15 a.m.
Updated July 17, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.

Victor Rocha, a recent architectural drafting graduate from Texas State Technical College in Waco, won first place in a national SkillsUSA drafting competition that drew about 30,000 competitors from all over the country. Rocha is a Bloomington native and hopes to be an architect someday.

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BLOOMINTON - Victor Rocha, a 22-year-old Texas State Technical College graduate and drafter, designed his first house using cardboard.

It still sits like a toddler toy on his desk. The design shows the plans for his family's home.

"You just have to be creative," he said describing his new profession. "If you're not creative, you're not going to get it done."

In June, Rocha won first place at a SkillsUSA national architectural drafting competition in Missouri. The competition drew more than 30,000 students from all over the country from trade and technical schools. After winning the Texas state-level competition, Rocha competed against 27 other students and won.

His winning home design incorporated elements from the Three Little Pigs folk tale: straw, wood and concrete instead of brick.

"It was pretty intense," Rocha recalled. "Everybody really was trying to win. Trying to bring gold for their state."

Building is something Rocha has been around his entire life. His father, who does carpentry in addition to his full-time job, built the home the family lives in and added onto it little by little as Rocha grew up.

"Right after my seventh birthday, my dad gave me a hammer," Rocha remembered.

Rocha, who graduated from Bloomington High School in 2006, was always interested in drawing and designing, but education was not always his plan.

"I wasn't sure at first if I was going to go to college or not," he said. "I kind of didn't know how I was going to go or how to actually get in."

Neither of Rocha's parents, both natives of Mexico, graduated from college, and Rocha is the first of his siblings to attend.

"It's like I finished school with him," said his father, Victor Rocha. "We didn't let him get out."

While in school, Rocha worked full-time for H-E-B and refereed basketball to help pay for his studies. In the summer, he worked for Formosa in Point Comfort and Valero in Corpus Christi to supplement the jobs.

But midway, he almost quit after course loads of non-drafting classes.

"I really didn't like school that much," he said. "I liked doing what I was doing, but I hated all my basics."

With help from his family, Rocha pulled through and graduated in April.

He now faces his next challenge: finding a job.

In the meantime he's drafting designs for a new park in Bloomington and a salon his mother hopes to open.

He hopes to eventually become an architect, but is unsure where he'll go to finish his schooling.

"That's my main goal," he said. "But I'm chipping away little by little."

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