Skilful group off to Toronto

Eight Central Albertans have earned themselves a ticket to Toronto in two weeks after topping their categories at the Skills Canada Alberta competition in Edmonton.

Eight Central Albertans have earned themselves a ticket to Toronto in two weeks after topping their categories at the Skills Canada Alberta competition in Edmonton.

Hunting Hills High School sent its largest ever delegation to the challenge, with 14 students qualifying through regional competitions. And with two provincial winners and five medallists overall, they performed on the big stage.

“It was probably our best showing ever. We’ve certainly tried to make the skills competition more of an emphasis for our (career and technology studies) department in the last three or four years. This really is the result of a couple of years of hard work by our teachers and students,” said Hunting Hills vice-principal Stephen Pottage.

One of those two winners, Ryan Van Bavel, earned his title by besting 15 other Alberta high schoolers in graphic design. The students were given roughly six hours on each of the two competition days to design a poster and sleeve for golf balls for a fictional project proposal, with Van Bavel’s deemed the best technically and aesthetically.

With his victory, Van Bavel won a place on Team Alberta for the national skills championships in Toronto from June 4 to 7.

The other Hunting Hills winner, Taylor Fielder, will not be part of the provincial team because there is no national level competition for her information technology software category.

The other Central Alberta high school gold medallists were Benalto’s Arden Nielsen, who attends Notre Dame High School, and Dustin Sejdl and Josiah Pilon of Ponoka Secondary Campus.

Nielsen triumphed in the electrical installations category, while Sejdl won for his cabinet making and Pilon’s carpentry was tops.

Among post-secondary students, Red Deer College student and Stettler resident Tyler Hamel will go to Toronto for winning the steamfitter/pipefitter field. Red Deer’s Jeffrey Williams, who attends NAIT, won for mechatronics, while Olds College peers William Slingerland and Nicholas Arnoldussen won in the landscape gardening arena.

Overall, 727 trades and technology students competed in 45 categories in the provincial competition. Sixty-five earned Team Alberta places, along with $500 individual scholarships.

Other local medallists include Brooklyn Varty (bronze, intermediate hairstyling), Dani Runzer and Coralee Martin (silver, IT software solutions for business), all from Hunting Hills, and Sara MacAhonic (bronze, junior hairstyling) from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. Red Deer College student Tyler Stagg earned a bronze in carpentry.

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