WP Sandin photo (L to R) Graham Lamontagne, Ethan Klaassen. Payten Keyowski and teacher Kirk Pilon of WP Sandin were part of the team that earned the school the title of Saskatchewan's Most Informed School.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

By Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

W.P. Sandin High School in Shellbrook has been crowned Saskatchewan’s Most Informed School on the AA Leaderboard by ChatterHigh and Skills Canada Saskatchewan.

 During this 10-day, online competition, students, parents and teachers from W.P. Sandin explored 11,498 post-secondary and career web pages.

 Industrial Arts teacher Kirk Pilon was the leader of the group, with help from Mental Health and Education Support Teacher Rhonda Berezowski.

 “It was a huge honour,” Pilon said. “We participated in Skills Canada events before. Those are typically in the spring, but this is the first time that they have really offered something like this online. It was really neat to involve all of the students and not just a select group of kids.”

 Participants went through module set up by ChatterHigh. These modules set out post-secondary opportunities for students. Each student earned points through their participation. The point totals were added up to create a collective total for the school.

 As a result, the school earned a $350 cheque and a championship banner. Students were also given the opportunity to earn a bursary for achieving over 75 correct answers out of a possible 110.

 The team was made up of Payten Keyowski, Graham Lamontagne and Ethan Klaassen.  Grad 10 student Keyowski, who earned more than $100 for the school through taking part in daily quizzes, said it was a great event to take part in.

 “It just really broadens your horizons for educational institutes out there and the types of education that you can receive (and) different businesses that you would have never thought could exist,” Keyowski said.

 “There is something out there for you in whatever interests you there is going to be something that is even more fit towards you.”

 This was the first time Keyowski has competed in any of the Skills Canada competitions.

 “The questions were just daily quizzes about every university educational institute in Canada,” she explained. “(They) would submit a question a day and there were 10 questions for the daily quiz and every day you answer those questions every day and every day you get a new set of questions.”

 Pilon explained that WP Sandin is experienced Skills Canada competitions, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in the plumbing category and other categories before he joined the school.

  “We are no stranger to Skills Canada, but this online thing was a really neat opportunity for the kids,” Pilon said.

 He said that teaching Practical Applied Arts gives him an opportunity to inform students of these opportunities.

 “It was very nicely laid out for the kids and it was good and for the mental health aspect as well, because there was a lot of questions that dealt with that,” Pilon said. “Rhonda did a great job of facilitating that for her kids as well.”

 Pilon facilitated Sandin’s involvement in the Grad 8 to 12 Practical Applied Arts Portion of the competition. He was able to talk a few other teachers into getting on board in their areas of specialty as well.

 The funds from the win have been reinvested into the Industrial Arts Program.

 “It was really nice being able to go to Canadian Tire and buy tools to enhance the learning for the students for the future kids,” Pilon said.

 Pilon added that hopes to see the online version return next year.

 “I think it is an incredible chance for (students) to look into different fields and look across Canada into something that maybe they never thought they could have gotten into,” Pilon said.

This item is reprinted with permission from Prince Albert Daily Herald, Shellbrook, Saskatchewan. See article HERE.

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