Media Release: Skills Ontario Team Brings Home Gold

For the first time since the Skills Ontario competition was hosted in Toronto, the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) sent five elementary teams to compete in various events on Monday, May 1 at the Toronto Congress Centre. Grade 7 and 8 students from South Huron District High School (SHDHS) competed in both the VEX Robotics and Technology competition. Upper Thames Elementary School (UTES) had two teams competing; one in the Grade 4-6 LEGO Robotics competition as well as one team in Character Animation. 

All teams represented AMDSB very well as they competed against other schools from all across the province. After a long day of planning, creating a storyboard, a trailer, and an animation, the UTES Character Animation team came home with the gold! Grade 4 student, Porter Harbinson said: “I was super excited to be a part of this because it was a new experience for me. I feel very honoured and grateful to have had the opportunity to go to this event. I think we did very well because we worked so well together. As for winning… It was the best feeling ever. It was the best moment in my life so far!” 
Teachers, Cheryl Hopkins and Jody Horne, prepared the students throughout the school year for the competition. They hosted clubs at lunch to support any student who wanted to learn about robotics and character animation and then closer to the competition date, the teams were chosen. “I was so impressed with the drive and dedication students gave to the many lunch and nutrition breaks they gave up to develop their technological, collaboration, communication, and problem solving skills. All of the teams worked extremely hard at the competition. There were so many positive comments from students and parents that I can say without a doubt, this competition has created a real buzz in our school and we look forward to another opportunity next year”, said Hopkins. 
The students who competed in the Technology competition had to build a hydraulic crane that picked up batteries and deposited them 8 inches ahead in copper pipes. The students had to sketch their prototype and then, using the materials provided, build the prototype. The students who competed in the VEX Robotics competition had to bring a robot and program it to perform various tasks. Grade 8 student from SHDHS, Ella Consitt, said: “Going to the Skills Ontario competition in Toronto was a great opportunity to learn about robotics and it was a good test of perseverance since things didn’t always go the way we wanted. It was fun to meet new people and to see the cool creations that other groups made.”
Jodi Froud, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) coordinator was very proud of all of the students and teachers from AMDSB who participated in this initiative. “These teachers have been working so hard to provide their students with an extension of the curriculum through the Skills Ontario competition. All of the teams were able to extend their learning, work together as a team and challenge themselves throughout this process. The Skills Ontario competition allows students to meet others with similar interests and is an amazing opportunity that showcases many skilled trades and post-secondary opportunities through the exhibition and competitions.”
This opportunity for schools was made available through OYAP. After the success of the competition, AMDSB looks forward to expanding the participation of schools at next year’s Skills Ontario competition. 
For more information on other initiatives supported by OYAP offered at Avon Maitland District School board, visit
For more information, please contact:
Chera Longston, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
519-301-6363 (cell); [email protected]  
Image: Gold Medal Team from left to right (Teacher Cheryl Hopkins, Evelyn Ward, Teacher Jody Horne, Porter Harbinson, Sam Dennis, Edwin Emmerson)
Gold Medal Team from left to right (Teacher Cheryl Hopkins, Evelyn Ward, Teacher Jody Horne, Porter Harbinson, Sam Dennis, Edwin Emmerson)