SDSS students gain hands-on real-life experience
by Sandy Lindsay

February 3, 2016



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Happy faces all around as the first phase of the Outdoor Classroom is completed at Port Elgin's Saugeen Central School

Once again Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) trades students have stepped in to help complete a community project .

The students, under the direction of teacher Bud Halpin, recently constructed an outdoor classroom at the rear of  École Port Elgin Saugeen Central School (EPESCS).

"It's going to be a terrific space for students and the music teacher is already enthusiastic about holding concerts on the staging platform," said Rayner. "We are going to continue fundraising for the next phase but if it weren't for the students and Mr. Halpin's program, this would not have been done for quite some time."

The trades program where students work off-site on various projects was the initiative of Halpin several years ago and, for which he has been recognized publicly (Read Here).

"It gives students building experience in real-life situations," says Halpin, "while at the same time it gives them school credits and the hours they need if they decide to go into an apprenticeship."

(L-R) Terence Gerrior-Johnson, Maddi Campbell & Cam Plante

Many of the students do, in fact, go into related fields they have taken in the program.

Student Maddi Campbell is planning to enter the Electrician Construction Apprenticeship program while Terence Gerrior-Johnson is going into General Carpentry and Cam Plante into General Construction.

"We've definitely improved our skills working on this kind of project," said Campbell.

Over the years, students of the program have built the Fairy Lake Pavilion in Southampton, the Rail Trail Head in Port Elgin, an equipment shed for Minor Baseball, bleachers for Biener Field and other projects throughout the community.

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"The off-site construction program has three pillars," says Halpin.  "First and foremost is safety, then education and then the community.  We would not be building these projects if it weren't for the community."

"We've also been fortunate to be able to work on interesting projects and local contractors and builders have always extended a lot of good will and help. PTC (Patrick Thompson Construction) taught the students how to shingle, CRS (Contractors Rental Supply) donated hats and other equipment and Professional Engineer Brent Freiburger of WSP Group who donated considerable time and knowledge."

According to Principal Rayner.  "Over the summer, Architect Grant Diemert was also very generous with his time and was very supportive."

The official opening of the new classroom will be held in the spring and, until then, the site remains off-limits for the school's students.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016