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High school students show serious skills in competition

About 100 high school students from across southern Alberta cooked, built and designed for bragging rights, medals and thousands of dollars in prizes at the South West Regional Skills Canada competition March 16 at Lethbridge College.

Organized by Career Transitions, the event was an opportunity for students to demonstrate proficiency in 14 categories of skills ranging from automotive technology and carpentry to hairstyling and video production.

“This competition provides high school students experiential learning and a chance to push out of their comfort zones,” said Judy Stolk Ingram, executive director of Career Transitions. “It also lets them demonstrate their skills under pressure and experience the value of professional development as they get valuable feedback from industry experts and college faculty who judge their work.”

The event featured 12 competitions that feed into the provincial skills competition, and two “challenge events” that aren’t yet part of the secondary school competitive program — heavy equipment technician and plumbing.

“We want students with an interest in those trades to have a chance to compete, and we’re hoping one day they will be full-fledged competitive events,” Stolk Ingram said.

The more students can experience high school competition, the better they’ll be prepared for skills competitions at the post-secondary level, Sheldon Anderson, dean of the Centre for Trades, said.

The competitions can also stoke interest in careers in the trades, and Canada needs more skills tradespeople to keep the economy growing.

“The world needs skilled tradespeople and our young tradespeople are some of the best in the world.” Anderson said

Stolk Ingram said representatives from business and industry get involved as judges or through generous sponsorship, including significant prizes such as tools and equipment.

The guests were treated to a special lunch prepared by competitors in the cooking and baking competitions.

While the official judging was done by chefs in the kitchen, the diners offered their own constructive feedback as part of the competitor’s learning process.

“That feedback adds that real-life flavour to the challenge,” Stolk Ingram said.

New to the regional event this year was a competition in electrical installation.

Following are the South West Regional Skills winners:

Auto Service — 1st, Nathan Slingerland, Calvin Christian school; 2nd, Alwin Loedeman, Calvin Christian; 3rd, Brody White, Catholic Central high school.

Baking — 1st, Jacey Kern, Winston Churchill high school; 2nd, Joelynn Oskam, Calvin Christian; 3rd, Katie Sommerfeldt, Cardston.

Cabinet-Making — 1st, Tristan Mulder, Calvin Christian; 2nd, Tate McGarry, Chinook high school; 3rd, Job Brobbel, Willow Creek Composite.

Carpentry — 1st, Jeffrey Van Velthuizen, Calvin Christian; 2nd, Brett Vande Merwe, Calvin Christian; 3rd, Carter Henderson, F.P. Walshe school.

Culinary Arts — 1st, Carter Oakes, Willow Creek Composite; 2nd, Tyler Prete, Cardston; 3rd, Jayden Hudak, Chinook.

Electrical Installation — Nathan Sims, Catholic Central; 2nd, Dominick Yauck, Catholic Central.

Fashion Technology — 1st, Lauriane Zumbach, Raymond; 2nd, Cassie Trechka, Winston Churchill; 3rd, Sydney Van Den Hoek, Calvin Christian.

Intermediate Hairstyling — Victoria Okeke, Willow Creek Composite; 2nd, Calleigh Smith, Willow Creek Composite; 3rd, Laurice Nieto F. P. Walshe.

Junior Hairstyling — 1st, Kyler Provost, F.P. Walshe; 2nd, Hayley Bronson, Willow Creek Composite; 3rd, Leilani Oakes, Willow Creek Composite.

Heavy Equipment Technology — Jamie Oskam, Calvin Christian; 2nd, Kostia Vorobiov, Chinook; 3rd, Anthony Kidd, Lomond;

Photography — 1st, Cordelia Yip, F. P. Walshe ; 2nd, Jessica Zivanovic, Chinook; 3rd, Sophia Rejman, Chinook.

Plumbing — 1st, James Van den Hazel; 2nd, Vinton Jarvis, Magrath; 3rd, Declan Young, Chinook.

Video Production — 1st, Sophia Groves and Garett Ouellet-Kane, Crowsnest Consolidated; 2nd, Damien Isfeld and Christian Joseph, Picture Butte; 3rd, Haven Balingit and Nicholas Johnson, Winston Churchill.

Welding — 1st, Zachary Michaelis, Lethbridge Collegiate Institute; 2nd, Arie Hengstmengel, Calvin Christian; 3rd, Brandon Slingerland, Calvin Christian.

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