Grade 12 Highland student Mathew Dyck won the Comox Valley School District's first-ever gold medal in the provincial Skills Canada auto mechanics competition.

Comox Valley students’ skills shine

Five Comox Valley students have qualified to test their skills on a national stage during the Skills Canada competition in June

Five Comox Valley students have qualified to test their skills on a national stage during the Skills Canada competition in June.

Mark R. Isfeld team Adrian Humphry, Damien Parlee, Ethan Glenwright and Nick Parlee won gold in robotics at the provincial Skills Canada competition earlier this month in Abbostford. The other gold medal-winning student was Highland Grade 12 student Mathew Dyck, who placed first in the auto mechanics competition — the first Comox Valley student ever to do so.

“It’s pretty exciting. I wasn’t really expecting (gold),” says Dyck, who got into auto mechanics to help prepare for his planned career in mechanical engineering.

“In school you learn in theory, everything’s theoretical, and when you go to auto, it’s not theoretical anymore, you’re actually applying it.”

School district career programs co-ordinator Randy Grey points out Dyck is taking a different route from most engineers because he’s learning hands-on skills.

“Matt is an academic student but he’s doing practical skills,” says Grey. “So, (he will be) an engineer that can actually know how things are put together and trouble shoot — and then when you get into the design aspect of it things will actually work properly.”

Meanwhile, Isfeld’s robotics team won the first Comox Valley gold in that competition in the past few years, according to Grey.

“This robotics team is highly skilled and very educated in robotics, one of the top teams I’ve ever seen,” continues Grey, who has been involved with Skills Canada for more than 10 years. “They’re very capable.”

The national Skills Canada competition will be held June 5 to 7 in Toronto. It will cost $1,000 per student to send these five competitors to the competition, and community donations will be gratefully accepted.

“The community has been fantastic in the past and is being asked to please help again,” says Grey. “Together we can get these very talented youth to the nationals.”

For more information, contact Randy Grey at randy.grey@sd71.bc.ca, 250-897-5632.

More than 30 Comox Valley students competed at the provincial competition, and many won medals.

Other medal winners include:

Auto collision repair: bronze, Vanier, Sam Davis

Electronics: silver, Highland, Connor Ball

Electronics: bronze, Vanier, Chris Kristoff

Graphic design: silver, Vanier, Katinka Newman

Jr. spaghetti bridge: bronze, Vanier team, Wyatt Waite, Raymond Fukui and Riley Meyerhoff

Jr. sumo robots: silver, Vanier, Alex Chow

“The students that competed represent our future problem solvers,” says Grey. “They are going to continue to strive and learn new technologies, and have the potential to help our industries grow and create new solutions to better our world.”

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