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UGDSB students take home gold at Skills Canada Nationals 2022

June 3, 2022

Every year, students all across Ontario are given the opportunity to show they are the best of the best in their field at the annual Skills Ontario Competition. Over the two and a half days of the competition, students turn the heads of their educators, family, friends and prospective employers as they display their immense talents in the skilled trades. Winners of the competition are awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal, along with some monetary awards. Therefore, the greatest prize of them all, is the opportunity to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition.

The Upper Grand District School Board had seven high schools participate in the qualifying, provincial, and national competitions this year, which all took place virtually this year due to COVID-19 concerns. At provincials this year, the UGDSB had eight winners, with four winning gold. Four of these gold medalists—Mark Reynolds, Landon Harrison, Ben Henning, and Rachel Driedger—went on to nationals on May 26-27, where all four of them took home gold!

CWDHS grade eleven students Landon Harrison and Mark Renyolds, the dynamic duo, took home gold for 3D character animation with their animated short film. The pair spent five hours on character design, and ten hours animating the film. Their coaches Tim King and Eric Greig are extremely proud of their students’ hard work. King and Greig run fantastic tech courses at CWDHS, which includes King’s acclaimed cybersecurity course. Mark and Landon were in King’s video game development class working on the animations for a new game called “Rigged,” (which is set to release later this year) when their teacher offered them a great opportunity, to compete in the Skills Ontario Competition, which they would later win gold in. Now, the pair are gold medalists in 3D character animation at the Skills Canada National Competition. Harrison quotes “It’s the best experience we’ve ever had, our future looks very bright.” Renyolds states that this is “something we could seriously do, and we are good at it. We’ll see where this road takes us!”

Skills Canada 3DAnimation_TimKing_LandonHarrison_MarkReynolds

Guelph CVI student Ben Henning, who is just in the tenth grade, was one of the other national gold medalists from the UGDSB. Ben turned the heads of family, friends, and prospective employers at the Skills Canada Nationals this past week with his incredible skills in precision machining. Precision machining is the practice of manufacturing parts for automobiles and machinery. To put into perspective, this practice is so precise, it is as if you were to cut a piece of hair into four equal parts. Ben has always had a passion for his craft. He found it early in the ninth grade in Matt Lyle’s (who would go on to be Ben’s future coach) manufacturing class, which he has taken three times during his high school career. Ben says that the work he does is “always satisfying, I’ve always had a passion for it.” After high school, he plans to get an apprenticeship in precision machining; to gain more experience in this field while still in school, Ben plans to take Co-Op in grade 11. Matt Lyle, and all of Ben’s peers at GCVI, are so incredibly proud of his accomplishments, and are very excited to see what he does next.

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Safety first is a very important rule in the skilled trades, and CWDHS student Rachel Driedger is an expert when it comes to workplace safety. At the Skills Canada National competition this year, Rachel’s skills were put to the test; she completed a hazard identification test, where she was tasked with finding, identifying, explaining, and controlling certain workplace hazards. She also created a research report on workplace harassment, which she presented to a few peers at the competition. At the end of the day, Rachel and her coach Jenny Ritter (who is also her beloved drama teacher at CWDHS), took home gold. Jenny Ritter says that she is “so proud of the extra time and effort Rachel put into the competition. Knowing that she is the best in Canada is an amazing feeling, and I’m so proud of her.” Rachel dreams of being a teacher one day, she says that by “taking what I’ve learned, I can help me keep everyone, including myself, safe in any career I choose.”

Skills Canada JennyRitter_RachelDriedger

If you have any questions about the Skills Ontario Competition or about the possibility of competing next year, please reach out to Joanne Harris, OYAP Recruiter, by sending an email to [email protected].

Written by Nathan King (Fergus, ON – CWDHS Student)

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