Comox Valley quartet earns Skills Canada medals
A strong contingent of Comox Valley students competed at the Provincial Skills Canada competition, and four came home with medals.
Seventeen Comox Valley students qualified to go to the competition this year, which was held in Abbotsford on Wednesday. The competition included students from 12 different regions throughout the province.
Of the students competing from the Comox Valley, four G.P. Vanier students came home with medals: Tina Tang, silver medal for cooking; Graham Bergey, silver medal for electronics; Martin Kellinghusen, bronze medal for electronics; Rhys Sutcliffe, silver medal for auto mechanics.
According to Randy Grey, School District 71 career coordinator, this annual event gives students a chance to compete and test their skills, while making friends and mixing with fellow students who also strive for excellence.
Grey was impressed with how well the group, which made up of students from all three high schools, supported each other.
"It is very nerve-racking leaving our hamlet to compete against the top students from across the province," said Grey. "Some of the students have competed before, so they helped to ease the stress with their experience."
Grey noted the expectation on these competitors was very high, and winning a medal at the provincials is very prestigious. College and industry representatives were involved, and they measured student work with an eye for excellence.
Comox Valley students competed in the following events: welding, 2D animation, 3D animation, hairdressing, baking, electronics, Jr. sumo robots, cooking and auto mechanics.
Grey has attended these events for over 12 years now, and he still is "blown away" by what the students create.
"When you see what these students can do in one day, it goes to show you that we are really preparing students well for the future," said Grey. "For example, the students in the baking competition display a full table of delightful baked goods that not only shows diversity such as breads, cookies, cakes and pies, but also the creativeness in the product."
Grey added that supportive teachers help ensure student success, noting teachers helped prepare students for the competition, then traveled with them to help coach and support at the event.
"You just wonder how could these young adults develop such great skills," said Grey. "It becomes very evident when you see their teachers right in there watching everything they are doing and learning what to help their next charge do in future years. The students competing are not the only ones charged up by the event, but so are their teachers."
— School District 71