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Green Energy skills competition a win-win

Don Wall
Green Energy skills competition a win-win
DON WALL - After two hours of work during the Green Energies Grades 7 and 8 Team of Four contest these Toronto students had made good progress. The top three finishers in the competition were teams from, in order, Upper Canada DSB (Callan M., Mae Ella M., Shaelynn M., Shahnoor B.), Halton DSB (Artin G.-Z., Aryaveer R., Jacob L., Ayaz A.) and Toronto DSB (Ribal E., Arsh D., Ivy Q., Josh B.).

It was only one of 76 different competitions at this year’s Skills Ontario Competition but the Green Energies Grades 7 and 8 Team of Four contest encapsulated much that is valuable about the three-day event.

Scholastic relevance, check; excitement building throughout the day, check; high participation demand, multiple career paths, leading-edge technology, social and climate change pertinence, promoting teamwork, five more checks.

Right, Humber College plumbing instructor Aaron Rosenblum is committed to playing his part in recruiting the next generation of plumbers.
DON WALL – Right, Humber College plumbing instructor Aaron Rosenblum is committed to playing his part in recruiting the next generation of plumbers.

The competition involved 88 students in Grades 7 or 8 on 22 teams from schools across the province — the demand for entry was so high there was a significant waiting list to get in.

The goal was to develop a working wind turbine from a kit over four hours, with the winners chosen by a measurement of the power output as the turbines pushed air through air boxes.

Event convenor Paymon Sani, a faculty member at Sheridan College, and former convenor Chris Tucker, a construction technology teacher currently under secondment with the Ministry of Education, have volunteered to participate in running the competition for almost a decade each, they say.

“In terms of the energy, they’re excited,” said Tucker. “When we turn on the power in the air boxes, and those things start whirling, things start spinning, their eyes light up. So that’s really what we’re excited about.”

Green Energies Grades 7 and 8 Team of Four competition convenor Paymon Sani, a faculty member at Sheridan College, said participating in the contest is a “personal passion” of his.
DON WALL – Green Energies Grades 7 and 8 Team of Four competition convenor Paymon Sani, a faculty member at Sheridan College, said participating in the contest is a “personal passion” of his.

Students learn to believe in themselves

IBEW training centre instructor Peter Caesar finds interest in becoming an electrical apprentice is high.
DON WALL – IBEW training centre instructor Peter Caesar finds interest in becoming an electrical apprentice is high.

The competition was held May 6, with the students among 2,800 competitors from elementary, secondary and post-secondary divisions.

The event was held at the Toronto Congress Centre, with a total of 35,000 to 40,000 students, teachers, union reps, employers, instructors, parents and others expected to attend.

Tucker rhymed off a half-dozen benefits the youths reap through the competition.

“I think there absolutely is an opportunity to discuss what is a wind turbine? Why is this technology being explored? Why are we seeing these fields of wind turbines? I think from an awareness perspective, that’s where it comes into play.

“When it comes to certain elements in their curriculum, in terms of mechanical systems, they’re going to be exploring the gearing ratio in order to generate the most output in terms of power. So we’re going to start saying, ‘Well, if my blades are so big, then what type of gearing should I have?’

Fourteen-year-old Siddart K., a Grade 8 student from Woodbridge, declared himself interested but uncommitted after a hands-on stint at a steamfitting and pipefitting booth.
Fourteen-year-old Siddart K., a Grade 8 student from Woodbridge, declared himself interested but uncommitted after a hands-on stint at a steamfitting and pipefitting booth.

“What we want them to get to is the critical thinking, the problem solving. They’re kind of practising during the competition, that teamwork.”

Sani said the competition is his “personal passion” and he loves to see the students’ progress throughout the day.

“You will be surprised at what they achieve here today,” he said. “They don’t believe in themselves when they get here but when they get their results, it’s good to see them happy.”

Tucker said potential career paths associated with the competition include engineering, engineering technician, maintenance, design, technical fabrication and construction. Sani himself is an engineer so can engage the students in those discussions, Tucker said.

“It’s really multifaceted in terms of where they can go,” he said.

Earning top spot in the competition was a team from Upper Canada school board, comprised of Callan M., Mae Ella M., Shaelynn M., Shahnoor B.

Follow the author on X/Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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