It was a record-setting effort for local competitors at the recent Skills Canada nationals in Moncton, N.B.
Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) students Cierra Naka (hairstyling), Shelby Tytlandsvik (architectural computer-aided drafting and design [CADD]) and Amber Hammermeister (mechanical CADD) all won bronze medals at the secondary level at nationals, which boasted some of the most talented young tradespeople in the country.
The ECS students were accompanied by instructors Joyce Mack (hairstyling) and Tara Johns (architectural and mechanical CADD).
ECS graduate Kianna Stepp, competing in the post-secondary hairstyling competition, also won a bronze medal.
Each competitor had to complete two projects each day on June 6 and 7.
Naka, who is in Grade 11, was at nationals for the second straight year. She said last year’s experience helped a lot, because she had a better idea of what to expect at nationals.
“Last year it was harder for me, because my work wasn’t as clean, and I was still a newbie, but this year it was easier,” she said in an interview with the Mercury.
In the first day of the competition, she had to complete a duplicated man’s hairdo, in which she was given the picture of the front of a man’s haircut, and had to style and cut it exactly according to the photo. She could style the back of the head as she pleased.
Then she had to do a bridal up-do, which she could prepare for in advance.
“On the second day of competition, we had to do a ladies’ fashion trend, which was three wishes we picked out of three different boxes,” said Naka. “One box was the texture, one was the colour and one was the cut. Then we styled it depending on how we got it from the box.”
Her final task was a classic bombage cut.
Naka finished with a final score of 83.55, which left her just three-quarters of a point out of the silver medal, and about four points shy of the gold.
She believes Skills Canada has helped her immeasurably with her development as a hairstylist, because it has enhanced her speed and her ability to work under pressure. Naka hopes to return to nationals next year.
Amber Hammermeister, who is also in Grade 11, was making her first appearance at Skills Canada. She characterized the experience as incredible, with so many talented young people gathered together.
“Not knowing what to expect is a little overwhelming,” said Hammermeister.
The first day of the competition saw her do a part measurement of a nutcracker, and then make a gripper that can be moved with a hand wheel.
The following morning, she was tasked with assembling a bench grinder, and then interpreted the design a of music box from a drawing.
“The most difficult was definitely the gripper,” said Hammermeister. “I lost track of time and didn’t get it done.”
Hammermeister finished with an overall score of 47.5, which was good enough for bronze in the very tough competition.
She was able to do some preparatory work before going to nationals, since parts of the projects for mechanical CADD were online before she went to Moncton. She had to arrive with parts already made.
“At competition they might change them, or they might not give us complete dimensions online to begin with,” said Hammermeister. “So they generally have to be modified at competition in some way.
“I spent a lot of time getting ready, doing what I could for those projects, and then just doing some past national projects.”
Hammermeister wants to be back at nationals again next year, so she can once again enjoy the experience of the event.
Shelby Tytlandsvik earned the bronze medal in architectural CADD with a score of 72, which left her just one point out of silver, and a few points away from gold.
Her project revolved around designs for a house that had been destroyed in a natural disaster. In the first day of competition, she had to create a floor plan based on the foundation she had, and then she needed to add a garage.
In the second day she had to remodel the garage into a secondary suite, and then add a separate, detached garage with an office in the back.
“We had to start from scratch, draw out the entire floor plan of the house, with exterior walls and the materials that you use, and then you had to put it all onto sheets afterwards and present it.”
Tytlandsvik said the teachers put in a lot of work to get the students ready for Skills Canada, and it showed in the bronze medals.
“My coach, Miss Johns, dedicated Saturdays to us,” said Tytlandsvik. “Every day after school, she was there, ready to answer our questions. You could text her any time and ask her a question.”
The students from other provinces who entered the competition were very talented as well. And the projects she was tasked with were complex, too, leaving her pressed for time to complete them.
She is in Grade 12, and will go to Moose Jaw to study architectural drafting next year. Tytlandsvik believes the experience at Skills Canada will help her in the future.
Stepp was likely one of the most experienced competitors at Skills Canada. She was entered in the post-secondary hairstyling event for the third straight year, and has won bronze in each of those years.
She was also entered in the secondary competition in 2011 and 2012. And while there were differences from the previous years, some elements were the same.
“Time-wise, being up to speed in the competition definitely helped out,” said Stepp.
In the first day of competition, Stepp had to complete a men’s fashion, colour and cut, and then a bridal long hair updo. In the second day, she did a women’s fashion trend colour and cut, and finally there was a modern men’s haircut.
The women’s fashion trend hairstyle proved to be the most difficult.
“With that one, we had no idea what we were doing before the competition,” said Stepp.
Similar to the high school competition, there were three boxes that they retrieved information for what they had to do for their colour, cut and texture.
She finished with 86 points, which was just one point removed silver and four away from gold.
This was Stepp’s final year at Skills Canada due to the event’s age restrictions.
The four medals won by the ECS students contributed to an outstanding effort by Saskatchewan at Skills Canada. Saskatchewan won 20 medals, with four gold, four silver and 12 bronze.