Students learn new Skills — Canada

MIRANDA BROOKWELL/Youth Correspondent

It goes without saying that the school year at Ponoka Composite is a busy one. Academics, school reach, sports, and drama are all happening throughout the year. With practices, rehearsals, and competitions, it’s a real wonder that students find time to fit it all in.

However, one of the activities that might not come to mind when you think of a high school is Skills Canada. Each year, students from Ponoka Composite High School put in hours of training in a huge variety of trades and technology disciplines to compete at regional, provincial, and national levels. Everything from 3-D animation to carpentry to employability skills to culinary arts comes from our school, which I think is something that we should be proud of as a student body. If gold is won at the provincial competition in Edmonton, the student has the wonderful opportunity to move on to nationals, which are held in Quebec City this year in June.

As a second-year competitor in the Prepared Speech category of employability skills, I look forward to another exciting competition in Edmonton with my friends and classmates. And although I hope to make it to the national level, I’m very excited mainly to support my friends, do my best, and enjoy the experience as much as possible.

Last year I was fortunate enough to win gold at provincials and silver at nationals in Waterloo, Ontario. It was a truly amazing trip, and I came away from it with new friends and a lot of new skills. I will be the first to admit that none of this – the chance to participate or the lovely medals – would be possible without our teachers that help us to be the best in our chosen field. For me, this teacher is Mr. Dick Unruh. Mr. Unruh has helped me every step of the way, both last year and this year, to research, write, and perfect my speeches as best I can. He does such a fantastic job of organizing our participation in the event, as well as giving us a little push when we feel a bit hopeless. From the podium to the table saw to the airport, this man is our mentor and coach for Skills Canada. On behalf of the “Skills Kids”, I feel confident in saying that we would be absolutely lost without him, our fearless leader.

We have a total of 23 students competing this year, and Mr. Unruh believes that we have a great shot at five gold medals at least. Let’s bring that number up and make some history!

I’d like to give a huge thanks to all the teachers who are assisting students with their Skills Canada practice. This is such a huge event that opens many doors to students from every niche of the high school scene, and the support we receive is phenomenal.

Provincials are held this year at the Northlands Agricom in Edmonton on May 11th & 12th. As the date draws near, we’ve all been practicing hard to go up there and show Alberta what we’re made of. Best of luck to all competitors – the hard work will pay off, I’m sure.

Competitors from PCHS: Jesse Raugust, Keane Morrow, Kiara Kjenner, Kornelius Spek, Miranda Brookwell, Joel Beaubien, Kimberly Badari, Mitch Dunz, Clinton Motley, Paul Maas, Nathan Huzar, Nathan Sargeant, Paula Lopez, Erik Krompocker, Samuel Doupe, Bowin Brachmann, Jordan Mueller, Nick Clarke, Wouter Opsteen, Dustin Lawrence, Annie Schur , Scott Pylypow and Job VanHaaren.