Grade 12 G.P. Vanier student Chris Leclair wrapped up his last year of secondary school with top honours in electronics at the national Skills Canada National Competition.
Leclair brought home a gold medal from the national competition before, too — he placed first in the same category when he was in Grade 10 — making him a two-time national champion.
“This year’s (competition), it was a lot tougher — stiffer competition,” recalls Leclair, noting he is proud of his win.
“It felt like more of a challenge this time. And this time, going in, it was a little more stressful because I kind of had a reputation to uphold, whereas, last time I wasn’t expecting anything, like even the regionals victory last time was a complete surprise for me.”
Skills Canada BC hosts 13 regional competitions and one provincial competition each year, and some competitors qualify for the national Skills Canada competition. Held in Vancouver from June 5 to 8 this year, the competition featured over 500 competitors in 40 contest areas.
Leclair competed against four others in the electronics contest, one each from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, and he completed a variety of tasks over the two-day challenge.
A few of the tasks he had to complete were: assemble a bread board, assemble a circuit, construct cables, reverse engineer and troubleshoot a circuit.
Leclair hopes to attend British Columbia Institute of Technology in September to start his post-secondary schooling in electrical engineering. However, he says he may go to North Island College and transfer to the University of Victoria instead, still taking electrical engineering.
Vanier electronics teacher Steve Claassen has been teaching Leclair since Grade 8, and notes he saw potential in his student right away.
“Ever since Grade 8 he’s been one that I just went, ‘Wow, he’s on a mission, he’s got the skills, and he’s just going to excel,'” recalls Claassen. “The quality that he can do is amazing.”
Leclair has been interested in electronics since he was a boy.
“I was one of those kids, you know, that rip everything apart, take it all apart, and not put it back together most of the time,” he says with a laugh, noting he puts things back together now.