CORNWALL — Hundreds of students from throughout the region competed this week in the Eastern Ontario Skills Competition, co-sponsored by the Upper Canada District School Board.
North Dundas District High School student Brandon Scheepers was among those who excelled, earning a bronze in welding at the Feb. 28 competition. He was tasked with building a small decorative lighthouse, forming the parts out of pre-cut pieces of metal, welding the parts together, and grinding a shiny finish on the exterior.
Scheepers said the event was a fun way to practice and enhance his welding technique, a skill that will pay dividends later in life as he helps manage his family’s dairy farm.
Held at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, the event allowed students to test their trades skills in 13 different judged events ranging from TV/video to welding. Top winners were awarded bronze, silver, or gold medals, plus the chance to move on to a regional qualifier in Kingston April 1, or the Ontario Technological Skills Competition May 1-3 in Toronto.
“This is a really exciting event for a lot of students,” explained Lori Carlisle, a key organizer of the competition. “Many of these students may not be able to get the opportunity to showcase their skills often in a normal school setting. It’s an acknowledgement for these students that what they are doing is valued.”
Other UCDSB gold-medal winners included: Courtney Seguin, Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School, aesthetics; Char-Lan District High School team, house building; Joey Schlapsi and Shawn Little, Rockland District High School, TV-video production;; Alex Edwards, Athens District High School, carpentry individual; Parker Henhawk, St. Lawrence Secondary School, hair; and Cole MacWhirter, Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute, small powered equipment.
The competition was co-hosted with St. Lawrence College and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.