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Centennial Collegiate
Inspiring Learning

Centennial students to compete at national Skills Canada events

May 24, 2016
Centennialskills_web.jpgSalmon is a key ingredient in Gintere Cemerkaite’s recipe for success.
The Grade 11 student from Centennial Collegiate was among 36 Saskatoon Public Schools’ collegiate students who took part in the Skills Canada Saskatchewan competition and one of nine who claimed a gold medal and the chance to compete at the national level.
Competing in the Job Skill Demonstration category, Cemerkaite’s salmon dish showcased culinary skills first inspired by a home economics class as an elementary school student. They have since been honed through home cooking and opportunities such as a boot camp led by professional chefs, something that helped fuel her desire to compete.
“That is what motivated me to go to Skills Canada and show off my skill and I got gold in my demonstration,” she told the Board of Education during its May meeting. “I am really excited to go to Moncton and show my skill to other judges.”
The chance to compete against students from across Canada at the upcoming Skills Canada national competition June 5-8 in Moncton, N.B., is another opportunity for Cemerkaite to explore a passion for culinary arts that is already an important part of her life.
“I started cooking at home and teaching myself through cookbooks, watching Food Network and celebrity chefs and learning from YouTube,” she said. “Just recently I started watching gastronomy and culinary arts documentaries on Netflix, which isn’t really what a teenager does but that is what I like.”
Other Saskatoon Public Schools’ students who will compete at nationals in various disciplines include: Minnah Butt from Centennial; Reydel Gabriel, Ray Valentino and Kayla Denaka of Mount Royal Collegiate; John McEwan, Chase Seale and Jun Zheng from Walter Murray Collegiate; and Vaidehee Lanke of Aden Bowman Collegiate.
The Skills Canada program offers competition in more than 40 categories for both high school as well as post-secondary students at a provincial, national and international level.
Jill Konkin, a career facilitator at Centennial Collegiate, says the Skills Canada program emphasizes the nine essential skills -- continuous learning, digital, document use, numeracy, oral or communication skills, reading text, thinking, working with others and writing – that are important for students both now and in their future careers.
“These are skills we use at the work place and in every day of our lives but at different levels of complexity -- that’s what Skills Canada is about,” Konkin says. “When they talk about Skills Canada it is really talking about the nine essential skills and trying to display those and compete in this kind of event.”
“In the school, in each of the subject areas, we need to have teachers who know the literacy of these because this is what is going to be happening in the future.”
While winning is the goal, Konkin says the opportunity for students to compete while doing something they are passionate about is the real prize.
“When we go to nationals it really is an Olympic event. The values are excellence, friendship and respect and that’s really what this is teaching our students all the way through,” Konkin says. “I had a student that went to nationals and was competing in baking. At the end of the competition she came to me and said ‘Mrs. Konkin, this is so cool! I got to meet girls from across Canada that are as passionate about cooking as I am!’ “