No boys allowed: Girls-only tech class gives students 'confidence' for skilled trades

A month into school and students in the female-only tech class at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Windsor are putting the finishing touches on wooden boxes they've constructed. The Grade 9 girls wear all the required safety gear to carve designs into their boxes and apply finishing touches. 

The course — Exploring Technologies — is brand new at the school this year and school officials said it filled up almost immediately after being offered.

Sam Santarossa didn't realize how much effort went in to making things, and said the opportunity to learn without the guys around is helpful.

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"I really like it, personally, because the boys seem to get off track very easily, and I think with all of us together, it just makes it easier for all of us to learn."

The course runs in three parts, rotating through construction, automotive and design classes which teach basic carpentry skills, vehicle maintenance and computer-aided design and drafting. Two co-ed sections of the class are also offered.

Santarossa likes working with just girls, but knows that isn't what she'll face in the real world.

"I think it might hinder us a little bit because it's all girls," said Santarossa. "I think if we were to work with the boys a little bit, then it would prepare us."

Another student in the class doesn't think she's unprepared for the real world — after all, she can use the tools and equipment now,. 

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"As long as you know what you're doing, [you're prepared]," said Rachel Ng.

Teacher Ryan Coop said the girls actually pay closer attention to their work than the boys he teaches do. 

"Their attention spans [are] better than the guys," said Coop. "The [girls] are just as good, if not better, in every way."

Coop thinks the course gives students an advantage, hoping they go into the industry with more confidence.