By Jasmine Franklin
Nearly 15 high school students will compete this week for a spot in the Canadian Skills Competition in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. May 20 to 23.
Recently competing in the Regional Skills Canada Competition, Ponoka Composite High School carpentry students James Fenske and Kyle Rausch, will step up their game for a chance to place at provincials. The boys were required to build a park bench for the competition earning Fenske a gold standing and Rausch with silver — the first and second place ranks qualified the students for provincials in Edmonton.
“I worked hard so whatever I got, I was happy with,” Fenske said. “I built and practiced it (about four or five times) so I was familiar with it.”
Out of 16 competitors in the carpentry category, PCHS students took the top four spots at the regional competition. Prospective winners for next year, Scott Pylypow and Paul Maas came in as third and fourth place.
“I always wanted to go but just never had the chance,” said Maas, who went to the competition for the first time this year. “I hope to place next year.”
Fenske and Rausch are required to build a wishing well at the provincial competition.
Construction technology teacher Dietrich Unruh explained why PCHS carpentry students continue to have success above others in the Skills Canada competitions.
“You gotta have good kids that are willing to work and be teachable,” Unruh explained. “I look for the kind of students that are willing to put in the extra time because that is the key.”
Unruh believes that Fenske and Rausch have a good chance at coming in first or second place against competitors from across Alberta.
There are 650 high school and post-secondary students competing in the Provincial Skills Canada Competition held in Edmonton where only students receiving gold, or first place, move on to the Canadian Skills Competition.
Also at regionals was Jacob Beaubien, a Grade 10 student, who came in first place for auto and will also head to provincials, and Steve Dunz and Jacob Gartner who went for welding but did not place.
All students going to the Provincial Skills Canada Competition include St. Augustine students Tiffany Boucher, intermediate hairstyling; Shawney Wiancko, senior hairstyling and Hoar Dylan, workplace safety. Ponoka Composite competitors are: Jason Rausch, architectural technology and design; Bryce Walls, cabinet making; Fenske and Rausch, carpentry; Kiara Kjenner, job interview; Colton Weyts and Katrina Pylypow, job skills demonstration; Dustin Lawrence and Zane Bugarin, Mechanical CADD; Miranda Brookwell, prepared speech and Joel Beavbien, auto service
Those who advance to the Canadian Skills Competition have a chance to represent Canada at WorldSkills London 2011.
Skills Canada is a national, non-profit organization that works to give youth necessary skills to help them successfully compete in evolving world markets. It also promotes skilled trades and technologies in Canadian youth.
Opening ceremonies take place May 11 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Edmonton Expo Centre, Northlands. Competitions are May 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and May 13, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an awards ceremony from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
For more information visit www.skillscanada.com