Two PCHS students compete on national stage

Ponoka Composite High School has strong finish at Canada Skills Competition

  • May. 30, 2009 7:00 a.m.
Bart van Haaaren and Dick Unrah stand next to van Haaren’s most recent project. After placing first in cabinet making at the Alberta Skills Competition

Bart van Haaaren and Dick Unrah stand next to van Haaren’s most recent project. After placing first in cabinet making at the Alberta Skills Competition

Common sports such as hokey, baseball and football tend to come to mind with any mention of a skills competition, but what about the hands on activities associated with technology and the trades? There’s a place for them too.

Each year students from high schools across the province look forward to showcasing their work by partaking in the Skills Canada Alberta competition ultimately vying for a spot at the annual Canada Skills Competition (CSC) held in different locations each year, and this year students from PCHS successfully did just that.

At the provincial level, Bart van Haaren placed first in cabinet making and Colton McClaflin placed first in website development. Students who placed first at the provincial level got the opportunity to compete at nationals, so Van Haaren and McClaflin were off to Charlottetown, PEI May 20 to 23 to give it their all. McClaflin competed well and didn’t place and van Haaren took home the silver medal.

van Haaren has been competing for three years. This is his second time competing at nationals and second time taking home a medal. Last year he won gold.

“I didn’t do as well as I did last year, but I’m still satisfied,” he said. “It was a good experience.”

Van Haaren works at Ponoka Cabinet Makers and will starting his apprenticeship next year. He said he got interested in competing because of his teacher, Dick Unrah.

“It’s not hard to get a guy interested when he’s interested to begin with,” added Unrah. He accompanied the group to nationals and said he was proud of van Haaren’s t accomplishment and knows he could have captured gold again. “He’s very, very good at what he does,” he said.

“It was nice to see us do so well in a computer related area too . That was new for us. The concept of this competition is great. For anyone interested in going into a trade, it’s a great way to get used to it,” he said while student and first year competitor Katrina Pylypow agreed.

“It’s really good experience and keeps you focused on your goals. You learn and practice skills you will use in the future,” she said.

“Next year, nationals will be held in Waterloo, Ont. so we’re hoping to be there too,” said Unruh.

At the provincial level, Bryce Walls, Tyson Klein and Colton Weyts placed second, third and fourth in job skills demonstrations, respectively. In the category of job interview, Samantha Sperber placed third while Katrina Pylypow placed sixth. Brady Swier placed third in carpentry and in 2D character computer animation, Joel Graham and Kaitlin White tied to take fourth place. In IT office software applications – level 1, Courtney Joyes placed fifth while in welding, Jordan Fenske finished in eighth place, in automotive service, Kyler Schultz placed 11th, in architectural technology and design Dabria Bratford placed 15th, and in junior hairstyling, Nola Curran placed 16th.

Started in 1994, the Canadian Skills Competition (CSC) remains the only event of its kind in Canada. It is the only national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country. Every year, the event brings together approximately 500 young people from all regions of Canada, along with their parents and advisors, to compete in over 40 trade and technology areas. The competition provides an opportunity for young Canadians studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested against exacting standards and against their peers from across the nation. Students vie to win the honour of being crowned the best in their chosen discipline.

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