Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:00

High-school students show they are SKILLed

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Nicholas Zadorozny, a student at Brooks Composite High School, makes sure his measurements are correct in the cabinet making competition. Nicholas Zadorozny, a student at Brooks Composite High School, makes sure his measurements are correct in the cabinet making competition. Photo by Rose Sanchez

One hundred and fifteen high school students spent the day Tuesday at Medicine Hat College taking part in the annual Southeast Alberta Regional SKILLS Canada competition.


That is a slight increase in participants from last year, but there were fewer junior high students touring through the competition areas and taking in the trades expo.
Sue Feeney has been the project manager for the event since its start. This eighth year for the competition was her last as the organizer.
She starts planning for the event in September every year, making contacts with industry representatives and schools. She’s ready for a break.
“I had just retired in April of 2005 and was asked to take on the position,” says Feeney, about being the project manager.
She accepted and the first regional SKILLS Canada competition took place in April 2006.
Feeney has been the powerhouse behind organizing the competition every year since and knows the importance of trades training for high-school students.
She tells the story of one female student in Grade 8 who attended the competition with her school. It was a chance to get a taste of the trades and see the older students in competition. Based on that experience, the student decided to pursue welding as a career and is taking the course at Medicine Hat High School.
At the regional competition, students from the southeast corner compete in automotive service, cabinet making, carpentry, culinary arts, hairstyling, TV/video production and welding.
The Top 2 competitors or teams in each category move on to compete provincially  in Edmonton which  this year is May 14-16.
Feeney is glad to have been part of the event the past eight years.
“I’ve met so many fantastic people, both working in industry and (Medicine Hat) College instructors,” she says. “I enjoy watching the kids compete. Their skill level — I’m blown away by what the kids can do. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Sheila Laverty, who teaches Foods at Brooks Composite High School, says three of her students were able to compete in the culinary portion of the competition, which takes place in the Home Ec. rooms at Medicine Hat High School.
Students who compete usually volunteer to do so, she explains. This year Grade 12 students Braden Wilson and Brenna Kielich took part along with Grade 11 student Natisha Baksa. Wilson was eager
to compete as last year he attended and placed fourth, just out of the medals. He was looking to improve on his performance this time around.
The culinary competition this year featured students making cream of mushroom soup as well as pan-fried chicken breast supreme with pan gravy, homemade gnocchi and a trio of vegetables.
They received the recipes for the dishes in January so they had time to prepare.
Competitors spent the morning preparing their dishes, presenting their soup courses to judges first and then their main course about 45 minutes later.
Laverty sees on average one or two of her students every year choosing to pursue culinary arts or professional baking as a career. Wilson has been accepted into the culinary arts program at SAIT starting this fall.
“It gives them the idea of what life could be like working in a restaurant,” says Laverty, about the SKILLS competition.
It’s also important for students who may not be
into athletics or interested in university to have a place where their talents and abilities can shine.

Automotive Service   
• Gold — Kyle Danyluk/Stephen Mahrer of Brooks Composite High School (BCHS);
• Silver — Tanner Tendler/Jordan Pahl of Crescent Heights High School (CHHS);
• Bronze — Taylor Sinclair/Cody Latrace of BCHS.       
Cabinet-Making
• Gold — Cameron Stock of CHHS;
• Silver — Scott Butkiewicz of BCHS;
• Bronze —Garison Babe of Senator Gershaw, Bow Island.
Carpentry   
• Gold — Chad Skanderup of BCHS;
• Silver — David Chomistek of BCHS;
• Bronze — Andrew Sauers of CHHS.   
Culinary Arts   
• Gold — Austin Doyle of McCoy High School (MHS);
• Silver — Shaydel Brigden of MHS;
• Bronze — Matthew Norris of South Central, Oyen.
Junior Hairstyling
• Gold — Kaylin Gries of Medicine Hat High School (MHHS);
• Silver — Gloria Mukadi of BCHS;
• Bronze — Shayna Hogg of MHHS.       
Intermediate Hairstyling   
• Gold — Taylor Vik of MHHS;
• Silver — Sally Gao of BCHS;
• Bronze — Becca Sehn of MHS.
TV/Video Production   
• Gold — Casey Bell/Eric Richards of Bassano High School (BHS);
• Silver — Duncan Follis/Ty Follis of BHS;       
• Bronze — Rilee Good Eagle/Adam Solway of BHS.   
Welding   
• Gold — Joshua Wilcox of MHHS;
• Silver — Kaden Anton of CHHS;
• Bronze — Cody Weaver of MHHS.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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