Cabinetmaker won silver medal at Skills Canada national competition
Melissa Battiste chats about taking silver at recent Skills Canada national competition.
On Tuesday, June 19, the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) invited classmates, staff, and members of the public to help celebrate Melissa Battiste’s recent silver medal win at the 24th annual Skills Canada National Competition, held June 3-6 in Edmonton, Alta.
“This is a significant achievement,” said Port aux Basques campus manager Jan Peddle. “You are competing against the best in Canada who tend to do well on the world stage.”
MHA Andrew Parsons (Burgeo – La Poile) and town manager Leon MacIsaac also offered their congratulations.
“The college, to me, is such a big part of our town,” said Parsons, who noted the win reflects well on not only Battiste, but the town, the college and the province. “This really is a pillar of excellence in our province.”
Kelly Tompkins, the cabinet making instructor at the Port aux Basques campus, declared Battiste was a perfect student during his remarks.
“Whatever you show her, she does it,” said Tompkins, who advised Battiste during the competition as to what precisely the judges would be looking for when grading entries.
Tompkins said the judges picked out Battiste as a strong contender early on.
“We were about two hours into the competition at the nationals. The judges were already coming over and they asked, ‘How old is she?’ because they wanted to know whether she
“It’s the first time ever that I’ve gone to a competition and had the judges constantly come over.” Kelly Tompkins, instructor
would be eligible to go (to the world competition), because the winner of the nationals is going to go to the worlds in 2019 in Russia. It’s the first time ever that I’ve gone to a competition and had the judges constantly come over.”
Unfortunately Battiste is a bit too old to qualify.
Battiste, who is originally from Cold Lake, Alta. relocated to the Codroy Valley about six years ago after meeting her husband, Chris, who hails from the area. The former civilian Air Force clerk decided to return to school and graduated from the CNA program last year. She chose to train for a third year to hone her skills even further.
“My Dad was a cabinet maker by trade,” said Battiste, who also spent time with her crafty grandfather in the summer. “We always built everything, from sheds to whatever.”
Both the gold medal and bronze medal winners had won medals at previous competitions, but this was the first time for Battiste competing at nationals.
Contestants were given a set plan to build.
“You get the diagram and you have to build this diagram to the specs,” said Battiste, who admits she got off to a slow start on the first day.
“So I wasn’t so confident on the first day, but the second day I had everything planned out and I just winged through everything.”
Battiste says she found the competition challenging at times, and that she faced strong competition.
“Luckily, I didn’t know that at the time, so it was kind of good.”
Now that she has finished school and has proven herself at nationals, Battiste is undecided as to where her talents might take her next.
“I’m just gonna wing It, roll with it. I have a small shop. I will set that up and I’ll see about working on small things and just keep building from there.”
Melissa Battiste with her instructor, Kelly Tompkins.
College of the North Atlantic medal winners from the 24th annual Skills Canada National Competition were Anthony Leonard, Melissa Battiste, Glenda Guest and Stephen Kettle.
Melissa Battiste’s silver medal winning table.