Seaway team heads to Skills Canada Competition


“We’re looking forward to this competition, and we’re going there to win.”

Seaway District High School’s building construction team is ready to take part in the 2013 Skills Canada Competition which is being held at St. Lawrence College, Cornwall, April 10. Made up of (above, left to right) Jordan St. Louis, Vicki Van Hoof, Josh O’Connor and Kris Alexander, the students in Seaway’s construction program know the competition will be tough, but they say they will be ready.

“The competitors come from all of the Upper Canada boards and from the Catholic boards. Our Seaway kids are really keen; they didn’t have to be pushed to take part in this event,” said Seaway teacher, Henry Looyen.

The Skills Canada Competition offers students the opportunity to  test their classroom and practical skills in a number of technical categories. “We are also sending students to carpentry trials, to welding, small engines and automotive trials,” Looyan said.

Seaway’s construction team will have six hours to completely build and finish a shed. 

The judges for the competition are drawn from the professors and teachers at the College, and from the apprenticeship programs. Judges will rate each team on the speed with which they work, the quality of the product, and whether teams meet code and spec standards.

The generosity of local South Dundas company, Cruickshank Construction, has been crucial to the young builders.

“Through Jordan, whose mom works for Cruickshank Construction, we asked for their support,” Looyen said. “The company immediately said yes, and donated $250 to us to purchase materials for building a practice shed this week in preparation for the contest. 

We are really grateful to Cruickshank’s for helping us out in this way.”

Seaway’s completed shed will be presented, after consultation with Cruickshank’s,  to a deserving member of the community in about a month’s time.

“We have a mixed grade level team here,” Henry Looyen explained. “The students come from grade 10 to the senior grades. All week in class we will be working on team skills, planning, and seeing that every person is doing a job. Time really is our ‘worst enemy.’”

Jordan, Vicki, Josh and Kris all volunteered for the competition and are looking forward to the challenges. They point out that while Mr. Looyen will be with them in Cornwall, he is forbidden by the contest rules to coach them in any way once the clock starts.

“This is going to be a team effort: we definitely plan to win. We’ll be fine,” the students laughed, looking at their teacher, “even if the shed goes up crooked.”

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