Vic High students win big at automotive competition

Vic High students win big at automotive competition

Grade 11 student Julian Walsh and Grade 12 student Braedon Thiffeault won bronze at the Skills Canada National Competition recently.

When Julian Walsh first walked into the automotive class at Vic High, one of the first things he noticed hanging on the wall was the names of past students who made it to a national automotive competition.

That’s when the Grade 9 student decided to dedicate himself to the auto collision industry and get his name on the wall among the other six students.

“I said to myself, I want to get my name up there, that’s something I can be really proud of, so I worked really hard to achieve that,” said Walsh, 16.

Three years later, his dream has finally came true.

Walsh and fellow Grade 12 automotive student Braedon Thiffeault won bronze medals in the car painting and auto collision competitions, respectively, at the annual Skills Canada National Competition in Moncton, New Brunswick from June 5 to 8.

It is the first time in 17 years that students from Vic High have won medals at the competition.

“I was really excited, I didn’t expect to place,” said Walsh, who was one of the youngest competitors there. “I didn’t expect to win so this is a big bonus. I can’t wait for next year and hopefully go back for gold.”

Thiffeault qualified for the competition after winning gold in a similar provincial competition in April, while Walsh won silver.

Auto collision teacher Kevin Blecic said making the jump from the provincial competition to nationals was a challenge for the students, but they managed to hold their own.

“Going from that provincial competition is like going from kindergarten to Grade 12 for the national competition. There’s a huge jump because the students are required to do stuff in high school that a second or third year apprentice would be doing in college,” Blecic said.

As part of the two-day car painting competition, Walsh had to polish a deep scratch on a hood, paint a fender, do colour matching and a tinting project. In the auto-body repair competition, Thiffeault had to repair a B-pillar section, plaster repair, replace a door skin on the outside of the driver and passenger doors, welding and frame measuring.

Both had to complete tasks in certain time periods, while hundreds of people watched as they work.

“It was a lot of stress and a lot of anxiety and keeping focused and making sure I’m always working. I didn’t want to get distracted,” said Thiffeault, who missed his graduation ceremony due to the competition, but made it back in time for his prom. “I just got into my own little bubble and stayed in the zone.”

After their bronze-medal wins, Blecic said both students have promising careers in the automotive repair industry.

Thiffeault hopes to apply for apprenticeships at automotive shops around Victoria or go to Vancouver Community College (VCC). Once Walsh graduates next year, and sees his plaque on the wall of the automotive shop in school, he hopes to enrol in VCC for their car painting course.

The Skills Canada National Competition is the only national, multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country, with more than 500 young people participating in more than 40 skilled trade and technology competitions.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read