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Thursday, 10 May 2012 08:50

Brooks Composite does the job at S.E. Skills Competition

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Regional Medal Winners - Student Names: Left to Right Ryan Ovinge, Taylor Sinclair, Zach Bowlby, Kevin Rempel, Wenjing Zao, Sally Gao, Jordan Weitzel, Ethan Rosen (Missing is Jon Powell). Regional Medal Winners - Student Names: Left to Right Ryan Ovinge, Taylor Sinclair, Zach Bowlby, Kevin Rempel, Wenjing Zao, Sally Gao, Jordan Weitzel, Ethan Rosen (Missing is Jon Powell).

It was a quite a successful time for the Brooks Composite High School at this year’s Southeast Alberta Regional Skills Canada Competition.

In total, Brooks took home six medals: three gold, three silvers and two bronze at the Southeast Skills Competition held April 26 at the Medicine Hat College.
The top finishers had the opportunity to compete in provincials in Edmonton.
The Alberta Skills Competition got underway May 10 and concludes May 11. Winners from that competition then move on to the nationals, which are also in the same venue a few days later. The 18th Annual Skills Canada National Competition goes May 14-16 at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, Northlands.
Brooks is well represented and staff there couldn’t be prouder. Jacob Blatz who saw his students take  medals in the Automotive Service category — Ethan Rosen and Kevin Rempel, gold; Ryan Ovinge and Taylor Sinclair, bronze —was excited for his team.
“I was very pleased with all of the students who competed,” said Blatz who has been teaching mechanics since 1988. “We told them after the event that we were proud how each of them carried themselves and how well they represented their towns/city and BCHS. The automotive students were very engaged and interested in all of the activities involved.”
Also finishing in the top three were students in cabinet making. Zach Bowlby earned gold and will compete in nationals. In Hairstyling Junior, Wenjing Zhao won gold edging out her classmate Sally Gao who finished second. They will also go to Provincials and Nationals.
In Hairstyling Intermediate, Jordyn Weitzel finished second and will also compete in Edmonton. Jon Powell finished third in carpentry, but just missed out on a provincial berth.
Winning and competing for the Brooks school is nothing new for students. They have competed in the Regional Skills competition since it started in 2006.
Blatz indicated the majority of the skills are covered during classes, however some of the skills may have been covered up to two years prior, so a number of lunch hours are spent reviewing and honing their skills.   
Brooks had participated in competitions held by SAIT and Ford/AMA since 1996. Blatz said this competition is important for those not interested in university-type courses.
“I believe this to be an important event for three main reasons: one, it motivates all students to raise their standards and two affords students the opportunity to meet others with similar interests. Also, it exposes students to the opportunities in skilled occupations and college programs and instructors,” explained Blatz. “It does get students excited about future opportunities and builds confidence. All students comment that it is a great experience and some say that it is the highlight of their high school years.”
The national competition will decide Team Canada which will be going to the WorldSkills Competition held every two years. The 2013 WorldSkills will take place in Leipzig, Germany.
It will be interesting for the students to experience such a high level of competition. They know the staff and students from Brooks are right behind them.
In Medicine Hat, the students also had full support.
“We as teachers attend with our students to give them support/encouragement when needed,” explained Blatz. “The Southeast Competition is very well run and supported well by local industry. We do appreciate businesses who help defer the costs (Allied Distributors, Liberty Trucking, Crosstown Truck and Tire in Brooks). We are always looking for industry help to assist students with costs when they succeed and compete at the provincial or national levels.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor