It’s a good thing Port Colborne High School have students skilled at construction, they may have to build a new trophy case after the school’s recent medal haul.
The school loaded up at the District School Board of Niagara skills competition awards ceremony recently. Nine students came home with top-three finishes in a variety of categories, marking the best showing for Port High ever.
“It was one of those years we wanted to go out and improve. It was a good year,” said welding teacher Vic Barker.
Port High won more medals than any other school at the ceremony, and Barker said it’s especially impressive considering the school has one of the lowest enrollment numbers.
“They (the students) work hard,” he said.
Students finished in the top three in a range of competitions, including construction, precision machining, small engines and hairstyling.
Barker said the results are a testament to the extra hours the students put in to improve their skills and prepare not only for the competitions but future careers in their fields. He said some of the students put in two-plus hours a day, every day during the week. Some have practiced for more than 100 hours in the past 10 weeks.
Six of the students will be heading to the provincial competitions in the coming weeks. Those will be held in Waterloo and qualify students for the nationals.
Elijah Schonewille, in Grade 10, is one of those students. The welder said he’s looking forward to taking part in the competitions.
“I was surprised to make it (to the provincials),” he said.
“I don’t know what to expect.”
In addition to the medal haul at the board’s ceremony, two graduating students were also honoured by the Canadian Welding Association. Chase Griffin and Owen Bellehumeur were two of six students honoured in the Hamilton-Niagara-Brantford area by the CWA.
Port High’s medal winners:
Ryan Grist - gold in two-man construction
Elijah Schonewille - bronze in welding
Marilyn Dick - bronze in hairstyling
Tony Novak - silver in precision machining
Isaac Grist - gold in welding and gold in two man construction
Kyle Bohun - gold in precision machining
Chase Griffin - gold in job demonstration
Shane Rapley - silver in automotive
Robert Augustine - gold in small engine repair.