August 14th, 2020

Student skills put to the test

By JEREMY APPEL on May 1, 2019.

Brooks Composite High School students Peter Unger and Tytus Butkiewicz work on a vehicle in the automotive competition at the South East Alberta Regional Skills Competition held Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at Medicine Hat College.

Students from across southeastern Alberta were in the Hat on Tuesday to show off their trade skills as part of a yearly regional competition.

The 15th annual South East Alberta Regional Skills Competition had the more than 100 participating students compete in eight fields – auto service, baking, cabinet making, carpentry, culinary arts, hairstyling, video production and welding.

The baking contest was at Medicine Hat High and culinary arts at Crescent Heights, while the rest of the competitions took place at MHC.

The top two performers from each category will advance to the Provincial Skills Canada Alberta Competition on May 8 and 9 in Edmonton.

Adelaide Buck, a Grade 11 student at Brooks Composite High School, participated in the cabinet building competition.

She told the News it’s important for young women like herself to get involved in activities that are often associated with masculinity.

“Trades have always been kind of a man’s thing and it shouldn’t be, because females are just as capable,” said Buck. “A lot of girls don’t realize they could be interested in stuff like that, or they don’t think that they could do it.”

Some people are more willing than others to shatter that stereotype, she added.

“It takes the right kind of person. You have to be a little bit different. Anyone can do cabinet-making, but it takes a specific type of person to really enjoy it,” Buck said.

Jonathan Chinchilla, a Grade 12 student at Brooks Composite, was involved in the auto service competition.

He said he particularly enjoys the practicality of studying auto work.

“It’s pretty interesting, the whole process, and it’s pretty useful to know how to fix cars, take them apart, put them back together and diagnose any problems that are in them,” said Chinchilla.

He said he sees auto work as more of a hobby than a potential career path, but enjoys competing.

“They’re pretty good tests of skills,” he said, citing the examples of taking apart the vehicle’s differential and putting it back together and checking the power through transmission.

Grade 12 Bassano School student Scott Thompson was at MHC for welding, which he said he gained an appreciation for growing up on his family’s farm, where his uncle welds.

“You get to play with fire,” he said, laughing. “That’s the main thing.”

Thompson wants to pursue a career in welding, for which he already has an apprenticeship lined up in Duchess.

He said he appreciates welding’s usefulness for a wide range of items.

“Whatever needs to be done,” said Thompson.

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