by Stephen Dafoe
stephen@morinvillenews.com

Three Morinville Community High School students will join MCHS teacher Greg Boutestein at Skills Canada Alberta at the Expo Centre in Edmonton May 11 and 12. Benjamin Lawrence and Skylar Luomala earned gold at the regional event and their chance at the provincial competition in video production. Alyssa Ralph competed regionally through an online submission qualifying process and won her provincial run in the graphic design category.

For one of the competitors, this year’s provincial competition will be her second run.

“Alyssa is in her second year in a row and has always been a talented graphic designer,” Boutestein said. “We had her go in last year, and she had no problem with the qualification. She made it again this year. She’s gotten stronger as a designer and certainly has the ability and the talent.”

For Lawrence and Luomala, the two-day event will be the first run for their skills on the provincial stage.

“Ben’s been with me four years in a row. He’s been with MCTV since Grade 9,” Boutestein said, adding Lawrence previously competed regionally in Grade 10 but did not make it to provincials. “Skylar worked with me in Grade 9, and I haven’t seen her for two years in my MCTV class. She signed up again this year and obviously she’s been doing some shooting on her own. She’s certainly has pieced together some interesting story telling stuff this year and produced more pieces than anyone in the class.”

For Grade 12 student Alyssa Ralph, her previous venture to Skills was a rewarding learning experience.
“I learned a lot and it better prepared me for what I’m going to be expecting this year,” Ralph said. “I’m looking forward to what’s going to be thrown at me this time and doing my best.”

Skylar Luomala will make her first trip to provincials in May. Though out of the MCTV program for a couple of years, she has been developing her skills during that time.

“I made some short films on my own, and when I joined the program again I used my previous knowledge from the class and what I learned when I was gone,” Luomala said. “I think that helped a lot with regionals.”

They are skills she is hoping to put further into play with Benjamin Lawrence, who will make his first provincials run. Lawrence previously made a trip to regionals in Grade 10.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to expect the last time, so our placement was rather poor,” Lawrence said of the first regional run. “This time around I’ve had a couple more years of experience doing videography. I’ve got Skylar, who has not been in my program but has a lot of story-based skills on her own. This time around, I feel that we are fully prepared for the competition.”

Lawrence went on to say that unlike the regional competition, the provincial version of Skills is more along the lines of what he and Luomala do at MCTV each week. “It’s more of a promotional video-slash-news report style, and that’s what we do at MCTV,” he said, adding the team will still practice their skills ahead of the competition.

Though Boutestein is confident of his students’ chances for success in the annual provincial competition, he said competing is a reward in itself. “You’re looking at a great opportunity for kids to size themselves up against kids in similar disciplines at different schools in the area,” he said. “Skylar has mentioned that it was cool to see all these other kids and the work they were doing in their buildings. Whether it is better, the same or whatever; it’s a nice opportunity for them to network in a discipline they are pursuing. They ae able to gauge themselves based on how they are doing with people that are passionate in their area.”

The MCHS teacher added it never looks bad on a resume to say you’ve won regionally or provincially. “We’re excited. We’ve got some very good talent this year, and I never like to speculate how people are going to do, but they all have the ability if they have the right project and design work,” Boutestein said.

He encourages people who may have some time over the two days to come out and attend the free event. “It’s definitely worth seeing these kids because there is a lot of collective talent in that room regardless of the discipline they are pursuing,” he said.

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