Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) students continue to make in-roads in a wide variety of much-needed facets of the trades from construction to electrical, welding to plumbing, automotive and many more.
On Friday, January 24th, the staff and students of the school held an appreciation lunch at the Queen’s Bar & Grill in Port Elgin for their many community partners such as OYAP, Town of Saugeen Shores, Lake Huron Centre for Costal Conservation, MacGregor Park, Westlinks, RKS Electrical, Go Plumbing, and CBarr Construction, and also to hand out certificates to the students themselves.
Teacher, Bud Halpin who organized the event, said that while it was a celebration of the accomplishments of the students, it was also to recognized the partnerships and relationships that have developed between the school and various companies and organizations.
“I have a lot of faith in the youth of today,” said Halpin, “but I also know that the companies who have come on board for these young people has been amazing. Perfect attendance in the trades class for students is 417 hours of working on projects and over half the class achieved that and more. They have been certified in areas that include safety, height construction and scaffolding among others and many have now gone on to employment in the fields earning good wages.”
Brayden Root among the students …. along with Kristian Overlay
“Most of their projects are outside,” added Halpin, “and they know what it’s like to work in snow, rain, wind and cold and I can tell you these students are tough. They worked four days a week and never missed a day.”
The students have been involved in working with professional trades people on-site, including the Westlinks housing development in Port Elgin where they constructed basements and helped with main floor framing and safety in a townhouse project.
In addition, they have been involved with environmental projects that have included creating houses for the endangered brown bat and bluebirds, planting dune grasses and building an accessible boardwalk at Port Elgin beach. This year, the school will also be partnering with the Town of Saugeen Shores and the Lake Huron Coastal Conservation Centre on various projects.
“As teachers, we have the opportunity to guide young people into the future,” said Halpin, “and to help them get good paying employment.”
One of those students is Victoria Clark who was recently accepted as an Apprentice Electrician in the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW).
“I am really excited about this,” said Clark.
Melissa MacEwan, SDSS Principal, said that Halpin has been instrumental in changing the lives of many students. “He has worked tirelessly with his students and for the community and has built partnerships for the school that are invaluable.”
“We are very excited about our relationship with the Lake Huron Coastal Conservation Centre,” said Halpin, “and are really looking forward to working with them on future projects.”