“It was such a great experience, I want to come back again,” Dalton Bown said, after last year’s provincial skilled-trades competition. And that’s exactly what the St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School student did. Not only did he return, but he left as the reigning champ in the secondary-school IT software category.

The Grade 11 student competed against others from across the province at this year’s Skills Ontario Competition at Toronto on May 8. Bown took the gold in IT Software Solution for Business. Last year, it was in the IT Office Software Application category. Bown was first introduced to the Microsoft competition in his business class and, from there, was motivated to learn what he needed to compete.

“Dalton is driven and is willing to spend the time after school to learn the various solutions to any IT problem I can throw at him,” says Melissa Oliver, a coach on the St. Peter’s skills team.

The Ontario Skill Trade and Technology contests are the equivalent to competing at OFSAA for any high-school level athlete. Competing or even visiting the Skills Ontario event is important for youth because it allows them to expand their understanding of the various trades and technologies. In this modern world, it’s hard for students to realize what interests them and what they want to pursue as a career. Bown describes the event as inspirational.

“Just taking a moment to walk around after my competition, it took my breath away as I saw the average-looking teenager defy the meaning of normal and perform amazing skills that no one could ever think a teenager was capable of,” he said. “This sets the standard high but still achievable.”

The gold medal has earned him a spot with Team Ontario at the 2018 Skills Canada Competition. The two-day competition takes place at Edmonton on June 4 and 5.

Photo: Dalton Bown is heading to Edmonton to compete at the 2018 Skills Canada Competition.