Select a student to read more about their pathway experience
Clayton is a Grade 12 student at Mitchell District High School who lives on a small farm close to Monkton with his two brothers and one sister. From a young age, Clayton has enjoyed helping his father on the family farm and more recently, assisting on various excavating job sites. Clayton thoroughly enjoys working and operating heavy equipment. During his time at MDHS, Clayton could be found taking Construction, Machine Shop, Transportation Technology and Drafting.
On top of his classes, Clayton has been an active participant in a number of the extracurricular teams offered at MDHS. He has participated as a member of the following teams: baseball, track and field, badminton and soccer. Since the age of 9, Clayton has had a passion for baseball and still spends countless hours outside of school playing for one of the local hardball teams.
In the future, Clayton would like to pursue a career as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic so that he can be as his grandfather says, “An asset to the family business”. Clayton has had lots of experience working on trucks, as he currently owns five that have all needed “A little TLC”. Clayton appreciates the practical skills and knowledge that he acquired as a member of the MDHS Auto program that he utilizes on a daily basis.
Clayton’s passion for the trades extends beyond any one area. During a recent Co-op experience, Clayton received a job offer to work as a plumber for the summer, and although his passion isn’t in plumbing, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. During his plumbing experience, Clayton learned lots about laying pipe and finishing work.
As a student at MDHS, Clayton has taken part in the Ag Program which allows students to take part in trips to places such as the Royal Dairy Expo, in Toronto, and most recently, to the Rural Talks Rural event at the Blyth Theatre. Through this program Clayton has gained valuable knowledge about farming/agri-business that he hopes to apply to his own family farm. The advice Clayton has to offer for the younger students is to take Co-op courses. It provides the opportunity to get a real experience and a real feel for the workplace environment. Co-op also lets you see whether you enjoy the job placement you’re at or if you want to try something different.
Erik van der Vlies considers himself very lucky. Not only is he completing his secondary school education this year at F.E. Madill, but he has had the opportunity to follow his dream and plans to make it a reality: to become a fully licenced Agricultural Machine Technician.
Very early on in his education, Erik realized that he was not able to show his strengths in regular academic classes like math and English. He learned that he truly demonstrated his skill set and knowledge through hands-on courses. As a result, he took a great number of tech courses offered at Madill. He quickly realized that his best option for success was to choose a career that meant he would be working with his hands. Over the years, he explored his interests in woodworking, automotive mechanics, and agriculture through working on his family farm.
Eventually the skills he learned in his tech classes and the co-operative education program led him to a 4 credit placement at Huron Tractor in Walkerton. He thanks his tech teachers for preparing him well for this placement. Erik really enjoys how busy he is at Huron Tractor and how he gets to use the skills that he learned in his tech classes at school while on his placement. Erik’s Co-op job has confirmed for him that becoming a fully licenced Agricultural Machine Technician for John Deere is what he wants to pursue.
In addition to the positive influence of his tech classes, Erik considers himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a member of Madill’s Nordic Ski Team. He wants to recognize Mrs. Sawchuk for the work she did with the team and he now realizes what a positive impact that it had on his school and life experience at the time. “It was so awesome to be able to represent F.E. Madill at OFSSA,” Erik recalls.
Looking back now in his fifth year, Erik realizes how much he has matured over his time at Madill. He realizes that he is now ready to move on and embrace his future as he pursues an apprenticeship with John Deere.
Kenny is a Grade 12 student at SHDHS. He lives with his parents and an older sister in a house just outside of Exeter. Kenny came to SHDHS last year as a new student from Kitchener. He was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and moved to Ontario when he was nine with his mom and sister. His interests are camping, swimming, ball hockey, softball, football, hanging out with friends, and cooking.
Kenny enjoyed many classes but some of his favorites would be GPP, Gym, Hospitality and Tourism, and Drama. Kenny has played volleyball with SHDHS for two years now and has enjoyed every minute of it. Kenny said, “One of my greatest experiences I had at SHDHS was when one of our teachers brought Change Day to our school and it changed my life for the better”.
Kenny wants to pursue his career in the field of a DSW (Developmental Service Worker) as an apprentice. He wants to pursue this career because of his experience growing up with his sister who was diagnosed with a rare disability called Kabuki Syndrome. Kenny’s interest in this developed even more through his volunteer experience at Community Living South Huron with the Day Program in Dashwood. He says, “It feels like I am making a difference in someone's life when I assist them with everyday tasks and with improving their quality of life”.
Kenny has a lot to say when it comes to giving advice to the Grade 9 students coming into high school. His first piece of advice is that teachers are there for support and to further your education. The next piece of advice Kenny gave was to get involved with your school community. There are only four years of high school but they fly by quickly, so make the best out of those four years. The last piece of advice Kenny gave was to always try to enjoy yourself and don’t stress out because those four years don’t last long.
Devin Jackson will graduate Grade 12 from DCVI and continue working towards completing his apprenticeship. During Grade 11, while completing two credit Co-op in a welding placement at RDJ Bailey Metalworks, Devin signed his apprenticeship papers through OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program). With the help of DCVI Co-op teachers Mrs. Chateauvert and Mrs. Wrigley, Devin was able to find “something he was passionate about” - welding. He shares that school has impacted his life and life direction as he discovered the technical trades in Grade 9 and chose to pursue them. Hard work and continued interest led him to Co-op. He also plans to go to the Technical Training Group in Stratford to continue learning and developing his welding skills.
Devin comes from a small family - he is the oldest of two. However, he also realizes that his family’s support is important to his current success and future success. Combined with his support from his school communities of South Perth Centennial School and St. Marys DCVI, Devin feels his pathway to success has started well and can only continue.
Riley Dewater is a 16-year-old from Goderich Ontario. He attended Goderich Public School before arriving at GDCI. His hobbies include working with cars, drag racing and hunting. In high school he enjoyed math because he found it easy and he needed it for his future career. Riley would say that he also enjoyed auto class because he likes to solve problems and spend time fixing cars and bikes. Currently, Riley is deciding whether he should come back to GDCI for a 5th year or pursue an apprenticeship as an electrician. He is currently thinking about becoming an electrician because he has talked to many different people in the field and it sounds like interesting work. Riley would say that his time at GDCI was important because it allowed him to get the education he needed to get a good job. Riley said that his math teachers have pushed him to be the best he can be and have taught him how to set and accomplish goals. He would recommend to future students that they should set goals early in the semester and monitor their progress towards those goals. GDCI wishes Riley all the best in his future endeavors.
Zach considers himself a real “hands on” learner. “My learning style is kinesthetic and I think I learn best by doing.” This becomes pretty clear when we see Zach’s pathway choice, favourite classes and his hobbies.
Zach is hoping to land an apprenticeship as a diesel power technician or an industrial millwright technician. Zach plans to come back to F.E. Madill for a 5th year to do an OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program) through Co-op with the hope that this will help line him up for an apprenticeship. If Zach still hasn’t secured an apprenticeship, he plans to apply to college to put himself in a better position to get the apprenticeship. “Ten years from now I see myself working somewhere as a diesel mechanic or as a millwright in some kind of manufacturing industry. I’ll get there one way or another.”
Zach was not always this determined. For Grade 9 and some of Grade 10, school was not his top priority. According to Zach, he didn’t pass Grade 10 math because he didn’t do the homework or hand it in. Although understanding math was Zach’s biggest challenge at Madill, in Grade 11 he started to take school more seriously and credits Mr. Simpson with helping him understand math problems and turn his marks around. “I’m now feeling a lot more confident in math,” says Zach.
He found Mr. Shantz’s automotive class to be his most useful course. “I like working hands-on with engines and vehicles. I also liked that Mr. Shantz didn’t baby us through tasks. He gave us the responsibility to figure things out on our own. I learned a lot in his class.” Zach took some of these skills home and, with his brother, built a couple of drift trikes from scratch using square tubing and small engines. “I’ve always liked working on engines and building things,” he says.
Jamison Daw is graduating from CHSS this year after having completed a successful high school career working toward his trade licence. Jamison’s ultimate goal is to own his own company as an owner/operator trucking firm. By becoming a heavy diesel mechanic he will be able to service and maintain his own fleet of trucks, which will help him keep a "pulse" of the health of his company. He can’t think of a better occupation. Jamison is enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) – Manufacturing program, where he has received specialized training related to the manufacturing and trades discipline. He is completing a 2 credit Co-op at Lavis Construction where he has also signed up to participate in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). He is very happy to know that because he is in OYAP that his Co-op hours count toward his certification as a licensed mechanic. Jamison has taken a wide variety of tech courses at CHSS including all the tech classes, which he knows will serve him well in this role.