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.
Alex was born and raised in Stratford and he chose to attend Central because he had friends who were attending and he especially liked its downtown Stratford location. When asked what his high school career meant to him he replied, “There were some good times and some bad times but I generally liked school”.
Extra-curricular school activities were not something that Alex wanted to participate in as he preferred to spend his free time playing video games, reading history and non-fiction books, watching the History and Weather channels on TV and bowling.
Alex credits teacher Ms. Elizabeth Lagerwerf with having a significant impact on his high school life. He says that “Ms. L helped me if I had problems.” Alex also credits his dad and stepmom for encouraging him to go to school and to graduate and find employment.
Alex’s plan is to finish high school and to enter the workforce and start earning money. He is participating in two Co-operative Education placements this year to gain valuable job skills and experience.
Dustin is a Grade 12 student at LDSS who will be moving on to the workplace right out of high school. In school he has really liked hands-on courses such as automotive. He has spent some of his free time helping in construction and cleaning tractors.
Dustin is currently taking Co-op. He works at a dairy farm he can bike to from his house. He is really hoping that this will turn into his first job when he graduates in June. Dustin is also learning to drive. His long-term goal is to be a cattle truck driver by the time he’s 21.
In his spare time, Dustin likes to play basketball and take his German Shepard Mishka for walks. He also loves to go to waterparks and amusement parks. We wish Dustin all the best as he graduates and takes on new and exciting opportunities.