EDSS stu­dents bring home medals from 2017 Skills On­tario Com­pe­ti­tion

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - ALI WIL­SON

FOUR OF THE SEVEN Elmira Dis­trict Sec­ondary School stu­dents who took part in the 2017 Skills On­tario Com­pe­ti­tion in Toronto last week came home with medals.

The event is the largest skilled trades and tech­nol­ogy com­pe­ti­tion in Canada, with 2,300 ele­men­tary, sec­ondary, and post-sec­ondary stu­dents com­pet­ing in trades and tech­nol­ogy con­tests. A broad range of skills and ca­reers rep­re­sented from across the man­u­fac­tur­ing, trans­porta­tion, con­struc­tion, ser­vice, and tech­nol­ogy sec­tors where stu­dents com­peted for gold, sil­ver, and bronze medals.

From EDSS, Hai­ley Arm­strong earned a sil­ver medal in the floristry con­test, Quinn Young and Shawn­tanna Atkin­son won gold in the hor­ti­cul­ture and land­scape team cat­e­gory, and Walker Schott earned gold in the plumb­ing con­test.

“Whether they were medaled or not, I tell them ev­ery time, count this up as a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence you had to be able to work with the in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive, you used this day to find out as much about your­self and also, for that mat­ter, what it is that in­ter­ests you at this point and build on that,” said Randy Dyck, head of the tech. depart­ment and one of the two su­per­vis­ing teach­ers for the com­pe­ti­tion from EDSS.

Arm­strong , a first-time com­peti­tor bloomed in the floristry cat­e­gory. The Grade 11 stu­dent cred­its her en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence teacher (Mrs. Gaudet) for rec­og­niz­ing her po­ten­tial.

“She pushed me (to do it) and it paid off,” said Arm­strong. “I just had a knack for it be­cause it runs through the fam­ily – my mom does it, my dad does it. I just kind of have a knack for it.”

Lead­ing up to the com­pe­ti­tion, Arm­strong says she watched videos so she knew what to ex­pect when she got there, she also had guid­ance from a lo­cal florist who helped to teach her the trade.

The floristry por­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion took place over one day with fixed times to com­plete ar­range­ments. Each com­peti­tor was given a bun­dle of flow­ers that needed to spread over the en­tire day.

Arm­strong said luck was on her side with her flower al­lot­ment.

“I was for­tu­nate enough to get au­tumn colours, reds, or­anges, and all of that so I was re­ally happy to get that be­cause if I was to get mar­ried I would think au­tumn wed­ding would be the best, be­cause my favourite sea­son is au­tumn, and so I was re­ally ec­static and all to­gether you could def­i­nitely see the dif­fer­ent colours all to­gether over all as an au­tumn theme,” said Arm­strong.

“Our hope as al­ways is that they have ended up with a great ex­pe­ri­ence, very ful­fill­ing, and you know we will see what next year brings,” said Dyck.

Re­turn­ing com­peti­tors Atkin­son and Young com­peted against each other last year, but with grad­u­a­tion and other com­mit­ments the duo joined to­gether for this year, and it paid off.

“There was an on­go­ing joke last year that we were the dream team,” said Young.

Af­ter a hic­cup with their drill, the dream team glided through tasks with ease build­ing a re­tain­ing wall with cop­ing and pro­trud­ing pa­tio, a mini deck, zen gar­den, grass square, and trees and shrubs, all in a 10 by 10 area to sweep the com­pe­ti­tion.

Atkin­son will be go­ing to Fan­shawe Col­lege in the fall to study land­scape de­sign, while Young will be re­turn­ing to school while con­gru­ently work­ing in land­scape.

Dyck says he is ex­tremely proud of the stu­dents they put for­ward and their achieve­ments over the skills com­pe­ti­tion.

“The feed­back that we have got, the ex­u­ber­ance that they have, all of that as re­ally grat­i­fy­ing. To see that and cer­tainly proud of how well they rep­re­sented the board and them­selves at an event that chal­lenges ev­ery part of who they are and what they know.”

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OBSERVER]

Stu­dents from Elmira Dis­trict Sec­ondary School took four medals at the On­tario Skills Com­pe­ti­tion last week at the Toronto Congress Cen­tre.

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