GREENSTONE — The work of three students at Geraldton Composite High School has earned the school’s welding program national accolades.
Raegan Towegishig, Addica MacIver-Chapais and Rachelle Marszowski finished second in a competition that was put on by the Canadian Welding Bureau Foundation earlier this fall for their work on two benches that were given to the Fisher Court Retirement Home and Royal Canadian Legion Robert Frost Branch 133.
“When they found out that they had won, you could tell that they were definitely proud about that,” Geraldton Composite High School acting principal Andy McFarlane said.
“They are three different students with completely different outlooks on life and it’s really neat to see them come together on a particular project like this.
“At the end of the day though, it wasn’t really about the prize at the end of the project. It was about connecting with our local community and being able to give back.”
Towegishig, MacIver-Chapais and Marszowski’s work earned the school a grant for $10,000 that will go towards future costs for the welding program, which is led by teacher Terry Burke.
“With the upkeep that goes into the equipment and everything else, it can get a bit expensive,” McFarlane said.
“I think a lot of that money will end up going back into that, in addition to buying the metal that we can do projects like this in the first place.
“Mr. Burke is fantastic at what he does and we're building a program that hopefully will feed this area in the future.”
While the welding program has been at the school for many years, McFarlane says he would like to see it develop future and provide students an opportunity to take what they learn from their studies and transfer that into the workforce.
“For the first time in a long time, there’s an absolute need for jobs in that field, especially with the local mine opening up,” McFarlane added. “It was difficult to find those jobs for a long time, but now they need to be filled.
“I think it’s kind of a win-win for all involved. The students get a chance to learn the trade and the companies get young people to fill those roles. It’s a goal of mine to see our students move into jobs in the mine or forestry and stay in the area.”