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.

 

 

Just Posted

Hundreds rally in support of horse carriages outside Victoria City Hall

Crowd angry with Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion to ban local horse carriage industry

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

Five-month bridge closure poses early impacts on drivers during rush hour

Construction began Tuesday on the crossing commonly known as the Bay Street bridge

New virgin queen headlines ‘Bee Day’ at Saanich sanctuary

Taste bee spit and check out the hive at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary this Sunday

Mom who lost son to brain tumour in March joins the 24th annual Brain Tumour Walk

The Brain Tumour Walk takes place at the University of Victoria on Sunday, May 26

VIDEO: Canadian, U.S. Coast guards run oil spill response drills

20 vessels were on the water to practice international response methods

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

Young Victoria distillery earns prestigious Scotch awards

Scottish influences range from techniques to ‘kilted tours’ at award-winning business

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Most Read