Local students take skills to national competition

By Charlene Tebbutt
June 6, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: June 6, 2018 - 5:51pm

Students from two local-area high schools were in Edmonton this week competing against students from across the country at the Skills Canada National Competition.

Three students were from Carlton Comprehensive Public High School and there was a pair from Birch Hills Public School. The four-day competition started Sunday.

The Carlton trio included Grade 10 student Keaton Lair, and Grade 12 students Kyle Nelson and Zack Tretiak. Lair competed in IT Network Systems, while Nelson competed in electronics and Tretiak in electrical installations.

All three won gold in their respective categories at the Saskatchewan provincial competition in April.

Brad Amy, a teacher and learning leader in practical and applied arts and skills trade areas, said the national event is not just about the competition, but a chance to learn about opportunities in the job market and ways students can further build on their skills.

Results for the Carlton students were not immediately available. 

“It’s really amazing the level that we’re at here,” Amy told paNOW from the competition in Edmonton. “These are the best of the best in the country … it’s a really, really technical and difficult competition.”

Robyn Stanford teaches at Birch Hills Public School, leading students in practical cooking and practical applied arts. She joined students Megan Evans and Ethan Enns at the competition.

Evans is in Grade 12 and competed in pastry and confections, while Enns is in Grade 10 and competed in cooking. 

This week, Evans was busy preparing challah dough at the competition, making a five-strand braid, free-form challah and six buns, along with 16 piped cookies, 10 fruit tartlets and 10 eclairs filled with pastry cream. Enns competed over two days, first in a competency test, preparing a croque monsieur – a broiled ham and gruyere cheese sandwich – along with a salad and emulsified vinaigrette before showing off his skills at precision meat cutting. Wednesday, Enns was working on a three-course meal including minestrone soup, pan-seared sirloin steak, asparagus mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a lemon meringue tart with raspberry coulee for dessert.

Stanford, a Red Seal Chef herself, said the students spent weeks practicing and preparing for the event. Evans finished the national competition in sixth place, while Enns placed fourth. 

“It’s a huge competition, 500 to 600 competitors and the experience they get from being at that national level, it’s amazing,” she said. “I really enjoy watching them succeed and they’re great kids to spend that much time with.”

The Skills Canada National Competition is the only multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country. The event features more than 40 competitions in a variety of skilled trades and technology.


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