East York Mirror
Two decades of tradespeople have been distinguishing themselves as the city's top prospects by competing in the annual Toronto District School Board's (TDSB) technological skills competition.
More than 400 students arrived in five locations across the city to compete for gold medals in 32 different challenging events.
At the end of the day, all projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges and winners from each of the TDSB's four quadrants will be selected to compete for provincial glory at the Ontario finals, which will be held in Kitchener in May.
Central Technical School, Bendale Business Technical Institute, Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and David and Mary Thompson Collegiate Institute each hosted several event categories during school hours on March 10.
In the basement of Central Tech, Grade 12 carpentry student Caleb Bolychuk was working up a sweat as he skillfully slid lengths of pine through his band saw.
"We are building a pine bench which involves doing stuff like dovetails, rabbit-tails, and all that. It involves all your best skills," said Bolychuk. "I am doing this because I love carpentry and I want to keep with it in the future. It's just fun to do for me; it's like playtime at school that you can't really get anywhere else."
Obviously enjoying himself, he later admitted there was a certain amount of pride invested in competitions like this. He wanted to see where his skills stood in comparison to his future professional competition and hoped he could be recognized as the best in the city.
The kind of enthusiasm demonstrated across the city by students like Bolychuk can take them a long way in life, perhaps sooner than they might think.
That was the message presented by this year's honorary chair, Pete McLeod.
At age 26, McLeod is an Ontario native who is about to enter his second season as the youngest competitor ever in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Whipping his Edge 540 aircraft through checkpoints at speeds of up to 361 km/h is something he began working towards at age 16 when he qualified for his private pilot's licence.
"It's a belief I have that young people have a lot of potential and they should start realizing that potential at an early age, they don't have to wait until they are older," said McLeod. "This is an environment that is pushing students in the right direction and I can see how these values can carry over to anything from academics to sport to innovation and new policy."
Winners will be announced today, Friday, March 12.