The end of an era as renowned trades teacher retires

Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) High Skills Major trades program has long been a valued addition to the community and also in the education of many of the students that have passed through its portals under the direction of teacher, Bud Halpin.

Halpin changed the face of education in the trades and many students looked at them as an alternative education as he encouraged many to consider entering various aspects of the trades.

On Thursday, June 2nd (2022), it was an emotional last graduating class for teacher Bud Halpin as he gets set to retire.

              Teacher Bud Halpin (top row 2nd R) and 2022 students – for larger view, Click on Image

A BBQ was held at the school with invited guests who have helped the classes throughout the years.

                                                                   Last school BBQ for trades students

Halpin, while a teacher, always seems to also be ‘one of the guys’ who relates to the teenage students on their level while providing the leadership that is needed.

According to the students, Halpin has not only been a teacher but a mentor and friend.

The number of projects that the students have undertaken in the community over the years are almost too numerous to count as are the number of students who have become employed in well-paying trades jobs.

From Town projects to charitable organizations, environmental projects to helping individuals and many others, the class has continued to be an integral part of the community as Halpin integrated his students into on-site work projects.  From 2008, when he began the concept of having students work off-school-site in order to give them practical experience, students learned first-hand the many aspects of the trades and working on the job.

“This has been a very unusual class,” said Halpin.  “I know they are serious about going into the trades because many of them saved their money to buy their own power tools and that’s never been done before.”

“I have to also thank those in the community, such as Westlinks, Habitat for Humanity and the Town of Saugeen Shores, who gave us opportunities and their trust,” said Halpin, “to allow the students to learn through hands-on.”

In the table below are only a few of the projects that the students of Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) have been involved with in the community.

For larger view, Click on Images


While carpentry plays a large part in the school’s trades program, Halpin also introduced electrical and plumbing learning, which is now being implemented in other schools.

“What an impact you have had on our school and the students Bud,” said Principal Erin Paylor.

“Many of the environmental projects that we undertake give the students a sense of ownership,” says Halpin.  “It gives them a sense of responsibility for the environment.  They’ve created birdhouses and bat houses that have gone out to MacGregor Provincial Park, planted dune grasses at the beaches and built the boardwalks at Port Elgin Beach, all these things teach them to respect the environment.”

While he’s retiring, Halpin also says that he plans on becoming involved in community projects as a volunteer.  Stay tuned.