Ethan Haukeness of Medicine Hat High School took home the gold medal at the Provincial level of the Skills Canada Competition.
Haukeness, who competed in welding in the competition, is a Grade 12 student at MHHS. He has excelled through all three years of the welding and fabrications course at Hat High.
“I’ve never entered any skills competitions before this year,” Haukeness said. “It was pretty fun and I learned quite a bit from the different projects.”
Encouraged by his teacher, Kris Dulle, Haukeness registered for the competition, starting with the regional level.
Dulle, who was previously a journeyman welder for 20 years here in Medicine Hat, made the switch to teaching the welding and fabrication classes at MHHS last year.
“We had 4 competitors from MHHS in the South East Regional Skills Competition and that’s what used to be held at the college,” said Dulle. “This year, because of COVID, it was a virtual competition …Our high school actually won gold, silver and bronze in regionals, so then our top two moved on to the Provincial Skills Competition, which is the top two competitors from each region in the province coming together for another virtual competition.”
Dulle explained that provincials are usually held in Edmonton over a weekend with several trade competitions going on, but due to COVID restrictions, all competitions were online this year.
“We hosted just our schools’ competitors in our shop,” Dulle said. “They send out the projects and the prints and everything … There’s proctors online all the time that are keeping track of everything.”
The students started at 8 a.m. and had until 3:30 p.m. to complete the whole of their assigned welding project for the competition.
“Ethan was our gold medal winner for the province and then he moved on to nationals, where he competed last Friday,” said Dulle. “Now we wait until June to find out what happened.”
Dulle was proud of all of his students who competed, saying it meant a lot to have so many of the MHHS students rank highly in regionals. About Haukeness, Dulle said, “He’s a dedicated student, he’s always here. I think he enjoys the welding part of it, the hands-on part of the program … Ethan does welding at home as well, so his experience wasn’t just here at the high school.”
Haukeness has made a hydraulic press at home, saying he has a friend a little older than him who has taught him a lot about welding as well over the past four years.
“I felt pretty confident,” Haukeness said, “I really like welding.”
Haukeness plans to pursue welding as a profession after graduating.
Lauren Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News