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When hearing about a competition involving high school students, athletics may be the first thing you think of.
But the Limestone School Board’s Skilled Trades Competition is hoping to flip the script.
On Wednesday, over 100 students came to St Lawrence College to compete against each other in various categories.
“So we have students here in grade 4 who are competing in robotics, and they’ll go anywhere from grade 4 to grade 12,” said Geoff Petznick, a skilled trades advisor for the Limestone District School Board.
“This is one of the few occasions when we celebrate the skills of these children in our school calendar,” said Dan Fisher, a teacher at Errenstown Secondary School.
“We are being recognized. The apprenticeship route is just as valuable as the other three routes to college, university and the workplace.
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The demand for trained apprentices in the workforce is on the rise and when thinking of trades like carpentry and plumbing are the first to come to mind, the Limestone Skills Competition proves that it goes much further than that.
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“Skills Ontario, for which this is a qualification, has done great things to create more pathways for our students,” said Petznik. “More interest levels like fashion design, floristry…so lots of opportunities to get more kids involved.”
There are also students competing in categories such as graphic design, photography, video production and culinary arts.
“There are students who are suited for the kitchen, and even those who might be struggling today doesn’t mean they aren’t suited for the kitchen. There’s always room to learn, it’s just a matter of time.” It’s all about bringing a positive attitude and putting your best foot forward.” said LCVI culinary teacher Andrew Kirby.
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Andrew Fisher, a Kingston Secondary School grade 10 student, said, “I’m hoping to be a chef when I grow up, or maybe work in a place like this where I can teach other people. ” “I love cooking. You know, cooking is the fastest way to reach someone’s heart.”
And there is hope in the hearts of the judges, too, as the winners of the event will qualify for the Skills Ontario event in Toronto in late March, bringing skilled trades further into the spotlight.
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