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Chilliwack students bring home medals

Sardis Secondary students led the pack at last week's Skills Canada national competition.

Sardis Secondary students led the pack at last week's Skills Canada national competition, which saw over 500 students from across the nation showcase their trades and technology prowess.

Three of the four Chilliwack students competing received medals. Joseph Ryan walked away with silver in mechanical computer-aided design, Johnathon Hergott received a silver medal in welding, and Justin Emery won bronze in IT network systems administrations.

All are due to graduate from Sardis Secondary this month. The high school has prioritized trades and technical education, and offers courses in at least a dozen such fields, including metalworking, drafting and design, textiles, carpentry, computer animation, television and film, and automotive mechanics. The school is also ramping up its agricultural program.

"This is an important part of the culture of our school. I think it has been for many, many years," said principal Diego Testa. "We work hard to make sure that this is recognized as an important part of the curriculum."

Skills Canada was a big win for Sardis this year, with the number of students heading to nationals, and placing, higher than normal.

Teachers are usually the ones to encourage students to pursue trades or to enter the Skills Canada competition, and Sardis Secondary's staff are especially forward-thinking on this, according to Testa.

"They provide the kids with the right measure of high expectations with the amount of support that they need to be successful," he said.

Amie Peters, an Abbotsford Secondary graduate who has been working as a line cook at Frankie's Italian Kitchen & Bar in Chilliwack, won gold for culinary arts at the Skills Canada nationals.

B.C. students came away with 25 medals in total, of the 208 distributed.

Skills Canada promotes careers in trades and technology by spotlighting over 40 different trades through regional, provincial, and national competitions.

The nationals took place at B.C. Place in Vancouver, June 6–7, 2013.