SDSS students continue to learn through hands-on experience

Saugeen Shores District Secondary School (SDSS) trades students continue to gain hands-on experience as teacher Bud Halpin takes them out into the field to actually implement what they are learning in the classroom.

Halpin’s teaching philosophy is,  “If you develop a sense of community in the classroom where each student is valued and recognized, and where we accept their differences and sometimes disabilities, that carries over into the community at large.  Students then want to give back to the community, the county and beyond.  Our students have been involved in Habitats for Humanity, the Rotary Club pavilions at Fairy Lake in Southampton and Coulter Parkette in Port Elgin, contributed the shade trellis for the Port Elgin cenotaph, the Rail Trail Head building, to name only a few. Can you image the pride that students feel when they can go by a project and say, ‘I helped build that’.

The students of SDSS trades program have been invaluable to the Town of Saugeen Shores as they have completed many projects throughout the community.  The community has not only benefited from the trades program but the students have also had the opportunity to learn through hands-on skills training.

 (L-R Back) Logan Morley, Alex Horning, Bailey Bissonnette, Des Goun, (L Front)                Conlan Kresza, Victoria Clark, Caleb Steward and Ryder Kammracher

Since November, the students have been working alongside journeymen trades professionals at the developing Westlinks housing project in Port Elgin.  From working with carpenters and framers to electricians, the students are gaining knowledge and experience from the professionals.

Vaughan Sawyer and Nathan Becker, owners of Precision Framing, said that the students were a “… great help.  We would definitely like to have them back again.”For most of the students, they enjoy working with their hands and seeing the direct results of their work.  “I want to be an electrician,” says Victoria Clark, one of two girls on the crew, who has earned 400 hours toward her apprenticeship.  “I like to work with my hands and, at the end, see what I’ve accomplished.”

“The art of teaching is to recognize the way in which students are intelligent and recognize how they are intelligent and what kind of learners they are,” says Halpin.  “Each one is different.  Once you recognize that, the sky’s the limit.  Give me hard-to-teach students for a semester and all we need to do is be facilitators to give them the opportunity to succeed.
There are students who are not academic.  There are students who are not university or college bound.  We, as teachers, have the responsibility to help these kids find meaningful careers.”