You’d expect to find a pop machine in a cafeteria, but perhaps not a miniature ice rink, a dozen mannequins sporting different hairstyles and a solar-powered car.
The cafeteria at Elmira District Secondary School was host to all of those things and more Wednesday evening as students from 10 schools in Waterloo Region displayed technological education projects for the Building Futures Together program.
The event, organized by the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, brought together educators, students, and employers from across the region.
OYAP spokesperson Jill Nothstein said the purpose of the event was to showcase technical education programs and thank employers for their support.
“It’s a celebration of industry and education working together,” she said. “Because without industry taking our students on co-ops, giving us equipment donations, without them coming and doing workshops for our students, we wouldn’t have as much. We really rely on them for support of our programs.”
Nothstein said Elmira was chosen to host because of the strong support for technical education in the community and the school. EDSS had the most competitors and brought home the most medals from the regional skills competition earlier this spring.
Nick Kelba, a Grade 12 student at EDSS, agreed the school has an excellent technological program.
“It really focuses on the hands-on part,” he said. “I’d say it’s one of the best ones around.”
Kelba was at the school on Wednesday displaying the miniature ice rink he built for the school’s HVAC – heating, ventilation, air conditioning – course. He has signed up for the apprenticeship program and is hoping to find a summer job that will lead into that apprenticeship.
During the event, 12 students were presented with certificates of apprenticeship registration, allowing them to start their apprenticeship while in high school.
Two of the 12 students were from EDSS; Christian Huber was accepted as a millwright apprentice by Pillar Sausages and Deli, and Charles Bauman is apprenticing with Charcoal Steakhouse as a cook.