Calmar student continues Skills success

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A Calmar Secondary School (CSS) student has put another feather in the cap of his school’s machining program after bringing home bronze from a national skills competition.


16-year-old Jorn Peeters, a Grade 11 student at CSS, took to the podium after winning the bronze medal in precision machining at the Skills Canada nationals, held in Toronto, June 3-7.


Peeters attended the competition as part of Team Alberta, and raised the provincial flag on the dais at the closing ceremonies.


“It was pretty sweet, knowing how far I’d came,” Peeters said of how it felt to be recognized as one of the best young machining students in the country.


He was one of the youngest competitors there as well, with most of the other provincial representatives at 18 or older. Peeters earned silver at the Skills Alberta provincials, held in May, and was bumped up to nationals after the provincial gold medalist, a post-secondary student from SAIT in Calgary, was unable to attend.


CSS shop teacher Darren Roth, who has been working with Peeters since his Grade 9 year and joined him on the trip to nationals, said Peeters’ talent and developing skills outdid the older, more experienced field.


“He was significantly younger,” Roth said. “To medal at all against some of these guys is a real big accomplishment.”


Precision machining competitors were judged on two separate projects, one using a conventional engine lathe, and another in vertical milling.


Students were given three and a half hours to complete each project, which also included theory components. Peeters didn’t waste a minute of his allotted time.


“I used up all the time for both,” he said.


The CSS machining program has turned into one of the best in the region, and perhaps the province, in recent years.


The school sent three students – Peeters, Conley Wurban and Tucker Weldon, taking second, third and forth, respectively – to provincials and has had a steady presence at the competitions over recent years as well.


Equipment from the World Skills competitions, held in Calgary in 2010, was donated to the school, and Roth’s been putting it to good use.


Interest in the program has increased so much that Roth now organizes preliminary contests at the school itself in order to rank competitors going into provincials. That experience alone gives CSS students a leg up.


“Competition experience is huge, being able to work under that pressure,” Roth said. “And we always try to throw a few little kinks into the projects, like I may omit some measurements and they have to use trig to figure out the missing measurements. Things like that, trying to get them to problem solve under pressure.”


LCHS robotics takes fifth


Peeters wasn’t the only local student competing at this year’s nationals. Leduc Composite High School’s robotics team, made up of Daniel Kilmartin, Vidal Tavares, and Ethan Howald also attended. Team member Eli Weisberg was unable to make the trip.


The team finished fifth out of a field of eight teams in a robotic krokinole tournament, controlling their creations remotely around a large playing board.


It was the first crack at robotics for Kilmartin and Tavares, the team members who took on playing duties, and though they were successful at provincials, stiffer competition at nationals held them to the middle of the pack.


It’s not that our robot wasn’t good, because it was amazing. It was because the other provinces’ robots were…” began Tavares. “…better,” finished Kilmartin.


The team played 13 games in total over the competition, 11 in the opening round robin. In the knockout rounds they defeated Nunavut before falling to Saskatchewan. Though they didn’t finish where they’d hoped, both will be back next year. Now that they have some experience under their belts, and having had a chance to scout out the designs and innovations of their competition, they feel optimistic about their chances in 2015.


“This year we were complete rookies,” Tavares said. “Looking at the other teams there and understanding how their systems worked will really help in building next year’s robot, because we have all this knowledge now.”


The team thanked teachers and staff Mr. Loose, Mr. Lapierre, Mrs. Meaver and Mr. Cebuliak, as well as Mrs. Howald, for their help over the last several months.


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