Students from St. Micahael Catholic Secondary School and Stratford Northwestern Secondary School celebrated their gold and bronze medal performances at the 2019 Skills Ontario competition earlier this month. Pictured from left are Trevor De Groot, Nicholas Hergott, Simon White, Noah Runstedler, Danica Guzvinec, Bailey Satchell, and Ben Roth. Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network
Dedication, preparation, communication and concentration.According to the gold-medal-winning students from St. Michael Catholic secondary school and Stratford Northwestern secondary school who competed in this year’s Skills Ontario Competition, these are the traits that helped push them over the top.For St. Mike’s student Danica Guzvinec, who once again competed and brought home the gold in the aesthetics category, preparing for this year’s competition meant continuously honing her hair, nails and makeup skills from the beginning of the school year in September right up until the week before the May 6-8 competition.“I’m a fifth year, so I came back for Skills,” she said. “I want to pursue esthetics post-secondary, so I thought this would be a good foundation for what’s to come after.”But even with all her preparation, Guzinec said she was still thrown a few curve balls in the competition that she didn’t expect, but managed stay calm and push through.“She didn’t get to pre-determine who her models are. They’re selected for her,” said St. Mike’s esthetics department head and Guzinec’s coach, Kathleen vonEuw. “We’re not very diverse in Stratford, so she’s typically used to working on white skin and white hair … so she had to be able to think on her feet.”And she did.“I definitely can say that I was not as happy when I saw that I had someone I wasn’t used to,” Guzinec added. “But in the moment, I was just trying to say, ‘Just calm down, how (am I) going to do this? And if I mess up because I’m not used to this, how can I very quickly, within 75 minutes, make it look good?’”The other St. Mike’s gold-medal winners – Noah Runstedler, Nicholas Hergott, Simon White and Trevor De Groot – competed in the team-building category, in which they had to design and build a shed from start to finish.While the St. Mike’s team didn’t begin preparing for the competition as early as Guzinec – they started building practice sheds in their school’s shop room under the guidance of their coach, Mark Flanagan, about a month before – they did learn early on that communication would be the key to their success.“(We learned) how to work as a team, definitely. You all want to be on the same page, making sure that if there’s something wrong, you’re communicative and making sure you can do your best to fix that problem, or if there’s a little bit of conflict, make sure you’re all on the same page and working on it,” said Runstedler, who joined the other three as the team’s newest member this year.Northwestern student Ben Roth also brought a gold medal home to Stratford, this one in the woodworking category. Unlike the other categories of competition, Roth had to design and build a wooden sign celebrating the 30th anniversary of Skills Ontario over the course of about three months.“I did no work at the competition. It was all done ahead of time,” Roth said. “I had to finish, paint, all that. It took several months of class. It took a long time.”Though designing and building the sign was a long, arduous process, Roth said it was his attention to detail and his addition of some extra features that put his finished product over the top.“It was probably some of the 3D features I put on the sign,” he said. “I had done some 3D milling of the actual 30-years lettering at the top of the sign. … I think the lesson learned is just to allow yourself more time than you think you’re going to need.”And while Northwestern student Bailey Satchell didn’t come home with the gold, his efforts in the precision machining category did earn him the bronze.“I had to make a lathe part and a mill part at the competition in eight hours. It’s really hard because you have no digital readout. … I think the key is to take your time. Only go a fast as you’re comfortable with and don’t let the nerves get to you,” Satchell said.“I messed up a few things, but only because I was not as confident with it. I should have taken more time to sit down with the drawings.”firstname.lastname@example.org Other gold-medal winners from the region:
Cade Wright from the Greater Essex Country District school board in precision machining; Dylan Porter from the Thames Valley District school board placed in heating systems technician; Caleb Rose from the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District school board in auto service technology; David Ballagh of the Bluewater District school board in cabinetmaking; Rhiannon Wilson of the Bluewater District school board in skilled trades entrepreneurship; Elisha Levak of the Wellington District school board in graphic design – studio production; Olivia Dumanski and Avneet Gill from the Grand Erie District school board in health and safety challenge for grades 7 and 8.