Georgian strikes gold – once again – at Skills Ontario Competition

Staff and faculty across the college were beaming with pride as Georgian students took home one gold, three silvers and two bronze at the Skills Ontario Competition held May 6 to 8 in Toronto.

Mark Reckzin brought home Georgian’s first medal – a gold – in the Mechanical Engineering CAD category. He now moves on to compete in the Skills Canada National competition to be held in Halifax on May 28 and 29.

Georgian faculty member and team coach Tanveer Sayed was extremely proud of Reckzin’s performance

“Mark is truly a model student and a joy to have in the classroom and program,” said Sayed. “He’s involved in many activities beyond his classes and conducts himself with maturity and professionalism. He’s meticulous, focused and has a great career ahead of him.”

Sayed added that he’s very excited with the win as it was only Georgian’s second time participating in this category. “The majority of the preparation was already embedded into the learning outcomes of our four Mechanical CAD courses taught,” said Sayed. “We also practiced with competition scopes from previous years and reinforced the concepts that were specific to the competition. It’s great to know that not just Mark, but every student in those courses has a skill set enabling them to succeed in the industry.”

Reckzin is finishing his last semester in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at the Barrie Campus and will formally graduate at convocation ceremonies in October. He plans to continue his studies, completing his degree in mechanical engineering and eventually acquire his P.Eng.

“The competition was a great experience,” said Reckzin. “The whole Georgian team and Skills Ontario team were super helpful and supportive.” Reckzin added that training with Sayed, his course work and past co-op work experience prepared him well for the real-world application which the competition is based on.

“I’m very excited for nationals,” he added. “I’m honoured to be able to compete for Skills Ontario and can’t wait to visit the area.”

Georgian also scored medals for the first time in the Outdoor Powered Equipment category with Shawn Hejno winning silver and Austin Brown winning bronze. Both study at the Robbert Hartog Midland Campus with Hejno in the Marine Engine Mechanic program and Brown in the Small Engine Mechanic program.

“This is a great accomplishment,” said faculty member Rob Davidson. “We had 16 competitors competing in 10 trades and received six metals. My hat goes off to all the competitors and their coaches. Preparing for such an event is painstaking and overwhelming. Competing – well, the only advice I could give is, ‘get out of your head, you’ve got this.’ For many, this was the most nerve-racking experience of their lives but they wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Davidson added that the competition is something the students can add to their resumé and they need to be very proud, no matter where they placed. “I’m very proud of every one who competed; all the recognition needs to go to them,” he said.

Georgian also won silver medals in the Hairstyling category and CNC Machining.

Hairstyling student Amélie Whissel is in her final semester at the Barrie Campus. The 19-year-old from Gatineau, Quebec initially wanted to specialize in custom upstyles when she graduates but her co-ordinator Davinia Hooper thinks her views may be a little broader now with the big win.

“I’m very proud of how far Amélie has come and excited to see where she will end up,” said Hooper. “She trained with me for approximately seven weeks and dedicated herself to this competition. The help from all our faculty has paid off for sure.”

“Throughout the process I’ve gained such a grasp of the range of creativity that a stylist can develop through this amazing industry,” said Whissel. “It’s a true testament to how much work is involved in developing a strong understanding of all areas in hairstyling.”

Tavish McGill’s silver medal CNC Machining added to the college’s record book of historic wins in this category. Georgian has medalled several times previously at both the provincial and national level.

Georgian’s final medalist was Cole Churchward who won bronze in the Cabinetmaking category. Faculty member Lynn MacKinlay was extremely proud of the win. “This is the first time we competed in the Skills competition,” said MacKinlay. “We’re competing against students in two- and three-year programs so we’re the underdogs. I wanted my students to enjoy their experience and embrace the challenge of putting themselves out there. It’s phenomenal that Cole won bronze and a tribute to his hard work and preparedness.”

Bill Angelakos, Dean, Technology and Visual Arts at Georgian said the college’s impressive showing was due to a strong team effort from start to finish. “I’m very proud of our very dedicated and passionate faculty, staff and students who maintained a positive and friendly attitude throughout the competition,” said Angelakos. “We had returning coaches and faculty who stepped up to coach our students allowing them to compete for the first time.”

Three of Georgian’s medals were in events the college competed in for the first time.

“We had the strongest showing of faculty, staff and students at the awards ceremony supporting and cheering for our Georgian competitors,” said Angelakos. “We’ve also strengthened our commitment to skills training including our partnership with Skills Ontario. This year, we ramped up our booth presentation and the number of events and students who participated.”

Angelakos added that Georgian also achieved a platinum sponsor designation, which resonates with the college’s commitment to skills and to our students. “This competition is a great opportunity for our students to experience real-world training as well as opportunities to network with other students and their respective industry – in some instances securing jobs.”

This marks several years of top-place wins for Georgian provincially and nationally. It’s also the best medal showing the college has had in the Skills Ontario competition and the largest number of skilled and talented students participating.

Main photo: Georgian College students won two medals in the Outdoor Powered Equipment category at the Skills Ontario Competition held May 6 to 8. Shawn Hejno (far right) won a silver medal and Austin Brown (far left) took home a bronze medal.


Mechanical Engineering Technology student Mark Reckzin won gold at the Skills Ontario Competition.
Hairstyling student Amélie Whissel (left) won a silver medal in the hairstyling category at the Skills Ontario Competition.
Mechanical Engineering student Tavish McGill won a silver medal in CNC Machining at the Skills Ontario Competition.

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