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Regional skills champions crowned

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DAWSON CREEK – More than 210 participants tested their skills during the Skills Canada Peace Region competition held on January 31 at the Dawson Creek Campus of Northern Lights College.

The students, ranging from middle school to college graduate Apprentices from throughout the Peace Region and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, completed projects in 15 different divisions, featuring eight different areas of specialization.

And the competitors had the opportunity for a new experience, as for the first time in the history of the Peace Region event, most of the event competitions were held in one location – the Aerospace hangar at NLC.

Division winners have the opportunity to represent the Peace Region at the Skills BC provincial championships in Abbotsford on April 9.

Jamie Maxwell, Peace Region Skills Coordinator, was very pleased with the attendance numbers of competitors and spectators.

“The Peace Region Skills Committee met its goal of making the event more accessible to the public by having all the competitions in one place on one day,” said Maxwell. “By restructuring it the way we did, we were able to increase student participation from Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, and Fort St. John. Not only did we have a great turnout amongst the competitors themselves, but also with the spectators.”

Top finishers in each division were (listed in order of gold, silver and bronze medal recipients):

Junior Division

  • Gravity Cars: Chase Gibson and Allister Smith; Cage Jabs, Brayden Giroux, and Conor Riley; Max Wyant and Matthew Larden.
  • Spaghetti Bridge: Caleb Willms and Skyler Chowace; Ethan Willms and Tyler McElderry; Julian Craig and Bailey Schmidt.
  • Sumo Robot: Sarah Byng; Parker Brady; Coleman Hunter.

Secondary Division

  • 2D Computer Animation: Zac Schwartz and Ryan Leawood.
  • Baking: Braxton Goldade; Tiffani Germain.
  • Cabinetmaking: Payton Dekker; Josef Watson; Jeremy Cronier.
  • Carpentry: Tory Mitchell.
  • Culinary Arts: Jessie Squires.
  • Graphic Design: Nina Zhang; Trisha Fournier; Patience Terkper.
  • Hairdressing: Teressa Boring; Jenna Chevalier; Sydney Blunden.
  • TV/Video Production: Danielle Napier and Madeline Craig; Matthew Moeller and Jaden Ford.
  • Welding: Kyle Degirolamo; Bradley Thorpe; Quentin Clavier.
  • VEX Robotics: Dustin Bramhill and Taylor Ohlmann; Denis Prudnikov; Austin Earl.

Post-Secondary Division

  • Esthetics: Candace Fowlow; Heather Burkinshaw; Lisa Belkin.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering: Benjamin Couturier; Chris Huisman; Jonathan Ring.
  • Carpentry: Brad Johnson; Josh Belkin; Matt Link.
  • Culinary Arts: Cameron LeBlanc.
  • Hairdressing: Cori Cardinal; Allysa Linsley; Natasha Sharp, and Syndney Blunden.

Cori Cardinal, an NLC student, won the Post-Secondary division of the Hairstyling competition. Program instructor Jerri Kurtz explained that the competitors in the Hairstyling event had to complete several tasks.

“Cori had to create a high fashion haircut and colour and demonstrate technical blow-drying skills on a mannequin. She had four hours to complete this look,” said Kurtz. “Then she had to transform the same mannequin by adding hair extensions and ornamentation in one and a half hours. Cori went into the competition ready, as she had spent many hours prepping for this day. It really showed in her work, and clearly the judges saw it too.”

The organizing committee includes staff members from School Districts 59 and 60, and NLC. As well, support from local industry and businesses helped make the event a success through the donation of materials for completing the projects, and prizes for the top finishers in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Hairdressing and Carpentry.

Major sponsors included: Encana Natural Gas, Dawson Creek Secondary School Parent Advisory Committee, and Skills BC.

Local sponsors included: Northern Metalic, 911 Industrial Response (Grande Prairie), Salon Center Yukon, Moveahead Hair Shoppe, Mindy’s Hair Studio, Trendsetter Hair Salon, Chelsea’s Hair Studio, and Brocor Construction.

Skills Canada is a national organization that promotes excellence in skilled trades and technologies by organizing competitions at the Middle School, Secondary and Post-Secondary (Apprentice) levels.